- Kaleem Aftab
- 27 January 2012
Cliched, desert-set action adventure starring Mark Strong, Antonio Banderas and Tahar Rahim
The financial muscle of the Middle East has had a major impact on many spheres in recent years. Now that money is being directed towards movies. Bankrolled by the Doha Film Institute this action-adventure is set at the turn of the 20th century as oil is being discovered in the desert. French director Jean-Jacques Annaud (Seven Years in Tibet, Enemy at the Gates) falls short in directing the action and, ironically, can’t avoid stereotypes of the Arab world, especially in it’s depiction of female characters.
The central premise is promising, a war over land ends with an uneasy truce made between pious Sultan Amar (Mark Strong) and headstrong leader Emir Nesib (Antonio Banderas). The upshot of which is that the Sultan’s two sons are left under the guardianship of the Emir. By the time Prince Auda (A Prophet star Tahar Rahim) grows up the truce is put under strain by the discovery of oil. He is more successful at choosing between his two dads, wooing the luscious Princess Leyla (Freida Pinto is sadly no Carrie Fisher) and avoiding death than at being the new Indiana Jones or meeting characters with an Arabic accent. A disappointingly cliched effort.
Selected release from Fri 24 Feb.