If you looked up okay in the dictionary, then you’d fine this.
Synopsis: Caught in the crossfires of civil war, CIA operatives must send a former U.S. diplomat to Beirut to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind. (IMDB)
Starring: John Hamm, Rosamund Pike, and Dean Norris
Writer: Tony Gilroy
Director: Brad Anderson
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 109mins
For showtimes and more, check out Beirut on movietimes.com.
John Hamm doesn’t get nearly as many starring roles as he deserves. While he delivers another strong performance, the rest of the film didn’t quite match up. Here he plays a former U.S. diplomat named Mason Skiles who was invited back to Beirut in order to negotiate a swap between a CIA agent kidnapped by terrorists and a terrorist leader. Skiles was an experienced negotiator but this assignment was different as he had a personal relationship with the kidnapped agent back from his first stint in Beirut.
The story itself wasn’t particularly original and was at its best whenever it focused on Skiles and to a lesser extent the Beirut embassy cultural attaché Sandy Crowder (Pike). The film was slightly longer than it needed to be as it would be weighed down by underdeveloped political thriller elements that were difficult to care about and made the film more convoluted than it needed to be. The first sequence of the film was so underdeveloped and the story cut away from it too quickly that by the time the story returned to Beirut, it had failed to establish character relationships and the emotional stakes enough to care either.
As mentioned, Hamm delivered a strong performance here in the leading role as Skiles and was the best part of the film. He commanded the screen and was the only compelling thing to watch. He also had good chemistry with Pike who delivered a solid performance of her own as Crowder.
Overall, this was an okay film that will likely be more than that for others. The unoriginal story was somewhat compelling to watch but it was just hard to care about anything other than Jon Hamm who delivers a strong performance, further proving that he should have more leading roles in films.