Day of the Falcon is an interesting movie, especially considering that it is an indie flick. This modern day update on Lawrence of Arabia may not be the year’s best movie. But in the grander picture of indie movies released each year, it is one of the best of the flock in 2013. So many film makers try to make indie flicks, but sadly come up short, instead releasing a final product that looks more like a second or third run movie that belongs on basic cable on a cold and rainy weekend. This movie doesn’t fit in that category, though. Amazingly enough, thanks to at least a pair of factors, the final product of this movie could easily hold its own against not only other indie flicks, but even some major theatrical releases. One of those factors is the scripting. Another would be the general scenery and backdrop. And that actually ties directly into the cinematography.
The script for this movie is a good script, although it isn’t without its faults. It centers on the earliest days of the Middle East as it begins to rise to power thanks to the discovery of oil in the region. Here is where the problems start. The discovery of oil in the region leads to conflict between two of the region’s kingdoms. The death of two members of one of the kingdoms leads to even more tensions, as it leads to the belief that the men in question were drowned in oil by members of the opposing kingdom in question. Tensions eventually escalate after a request from Auda’s (Tahar Rahim) father, Amar (Mark Strong) is not exactly received too well by Nesib (Antonio Banderas), Auda’s father-in-law. That would be because the request in question comes across as less than humble, upsetting Nesib. Nesib’s refusal to this proposal leads to the eventual conflicts that follow Auda has he travels the desert to return to his wife. So who’s still following all of this? Does anyone need a program? Sure, one might have to go back a couple times to catch everything going on. But once the full story is unwrapped and understood, it leads to what makes the movie truly worth checking out; the cinematography and the shooting locales.
Whereas the intertwining storylines can get more than a little bit confusing in this movie, the movie’s cinematography and shooting locales go hand in hand with one another. As audiences will learn in the movie’s forty-minute long “Making of” feature, the movie was actually shot largely in the Middle East. It was shot partially in Tunisia and partially in Qatar. That it was shot on location in the Middle East instead of in a sound stage or in some location meant to look similar to the Middle East region played a big role in making the movie more believable. The manner in which director Jean-Jacques Annaud caught the scenes made them all the more dramatic, even when Auda and those with him were facing the elements and not human enemies. The inner turmoil on the faces of those with Auda as they struggled against the heat and dwindling supplies was powerful to say the least. The joy on their faces as they discovered a freshwater spring and the sadness at the death of Auda’s brother were just as moving. And it was all from getting just the right camera angles.
The cinematography of the massive battle scenes—especially the final climactic battle scene—are perhaps the highlight of this movie. Annaud explains in the movie’s “Making of” feature how the movie’s battle scenes were shot both from the ground and the air. Again, those different angles help to really intensify the battles. Annaud noted in the “Making of” feature that he wanted to make a movie that looked on par with the major motion pictures in theaters. And he did just that. He did so not just with the battle scenes, though. He managed to succeed in that aspect throughout the course of the movie’s two hours and ten minutes. Thankfully, it is Annaud’s leadership of the ship that is Day of the Falcon that helps make up for the slow first half. He does the best that he can keeping the action moving. And luckily once the initial story setup is finished the second and third acts come rather quickly before audiences even realize it, thus making it a movie that while it may need more than one watch, will grow on audiences more with each viewing. And with each viewing, audiences will see that it is yet more proof that some indie flicks are just as good as pictures released by Hollywood’s major studios. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from the Image Entertainment store at http://www.watchimage.com/product/day-of-the-falcon/4fee57e8-e613-e211-a415-020045490004. A trailer for the movie is also available for viewing at this site.
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