Lawrence Of Arabia
Despite being set during the First World War, Lawrence Of Arabia is as topical now as it was back when it was released in 1962, since it involves the controlling power of the Middle East - specifically Jerusalem - and the aftermath that war can have on a single man and on his entire country. Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) has been asked to head to the Arab Bureau to assess what chances Price Faisal (Alec Guinness) has in his revolt against the Turkish army. Along the way, he meets Sherfi Ali (Omar Sharif) and Auda bu Tayi (Anthony Quinn), and between the three men, a unique plan of attack is formed that will give the Arabs a foothold in their war against the invading Turks. Feeling that he has almost single-handedly organised the winning of a war and reunification of an entire nation, Lawrence's ego goes from strength to strength, as he is rapidly promoted up through the ranks of his own army and given more important and decisive missions, while the Arabs now view him as their own personal hero.
There are two outstanding reasons to watch Lawrence Of Arabia on the big screen, and one of those is Peter O'Toole. While he has uniformly excellent support, this was O'Toole's first major role and his performance is incomparable; flamboyant, intelligent, belligerent, charismatic, hopeful, fearless… What could have been just another war-hero turns into a multi-faceted, exceptionally layered character that O'Toole digs into with aplomb.
The second reason to watch Lawrence Of Arabia on the big screen is because, well, they just don't make them like they used to. This movie is staggeringly epic, filmed on the biggest canvas imaginable. A film of this magnitude shot today would use endless CGI for the countless extras and the stunning vistas, but here director David Lean did it all for real, and knowing that gives Lawrence Of Arabia a sense of scope that you just don't feel with its modern equivalents.
Yes, the director's cut running time is daunting, but it honestly does not feel its length. Magnificent in both its beauty and its storytelling, this movie is a must-see for those who are already well aware of its brilliance, but particularly those who - like this reviewer - had never taken the time before to actually sit down and watch what is undoubtedly one of the greatest movies ever made.
Review by Rory Cashin | 15:45 | Monday 26th November 2012 | Movie Review