Sunday, July 10, 2005

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Certainly epic in scope, but not quite the 'epic' I had envisioned (and, to be honest, kind of feared). Despite its huge stature and sweeping reach, it's at heart an intimate story about one man's successes and shortcomings. Far from being a hagiographic portrait, it allows Lawrence to be a larger-than-life man while at the same time preserving the doubts and failings that often mark men who have the kind of massive aspirations shown here. Acting is all excellent (hard to believe this was Peter O'Toole's first major role), and the direction and cinematography are rightly famed. It's the rare film that really does live up to its reputation. Quibble: The pacing does flag somewhat during the third hour. Reason that quibble is meaningless: That third hour also reveals the film's ultimate goal as a pessimistic evaluation of That Middle Eastern Situation (and, by extension, the ripples into modern-day politics), which is not at all what I was expecting. Good job David Lean. I will be trying to see more of your films in the future.

Grade: A-


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