Day Of The Falcon Blu-ray Review
Although, the specific date is never stated, DAY OF THE FALCON takes place roughly during the 1920’s -1930’s in the peninsula now known as Saudi Arabia. Two feuding tribes have been at war for a large barren dessert land called The Yellow Belt. The leaders from each kingdom meet and agree on peace treaty terms. As the victor, Emir Nesib (Antonio Banderas) will raise the two sons of the loser, Sultan Amar (Mark Strong). This will secure the peace terms agreeing neither tribe will claim The Yellow Belt declaring it a no man’s land.
Several years later, oil is discovered in the Yellow Belt by Texans. The greedy conniving Emir sells the rights for them to drill without notifying Sultan. This obviously causes problems and traditional religious Sultan wants nothing to do with the oil but is none too happy about Emir breaking the treaty. War is once again on the horizon. But with Emir’s new found riches, his army is far more armed using far superior weaponry compared to the simple traditional army of Sultan. New and cunning tactics led by Sultan’s youngest son Prince Auda (Tahar Rahim) is their only chance at victory. Throw in a love story subplot between Emir’s daughter Princess Leyla (Freida Pinto) and Sultan’s son Prince Auda and we got ourselves quite the little story.
The problem with DAY OF THE FALCON, other than the name (it was changed from the far more compelling and sensible “Black Gold”), is that it’s very black and white. Banderas is a bad king and Strong is the good king. I know there have been some pretty terrible people in history but it’s more interesting to find those grey areas. Unfortunately, the somewhat complex situation is trivialized by a boring good vs. evil story. To be fair, underneath that very basic concept, the film handles different levels within the idea of progress and morals far more delicately by comparison.
The performance are somewhat a mixed bag, much like the authenticity of the ethnicity these actors are playing. Mark Strong (ZERO DARK THIRTY) is terribly underutilized giving off a quiet strength with merely his presence. Antonio Banderas (DESPERADO) on the other hand delivers his character with an unfortunate sleaziness that is perhaps in part the fault of the writing. Frieda Pinto (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) does fine looking gorgeously exotic, while newcomer Tahar Rahim is surprising strong showing a large growth in his character relatively easy.
DAY OF THE FALCON is a gorgeous looking film. The sweeping desert and large scope has a remnants of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. But director Jean-Jacques Annaud has a record of knowing how to make a picture look great (see: SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET, ENEMY AT THE GATES). If only he could make his films not so forgettable (see: SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET, ENEMY AT THE GATES). DAY OF THE FALCON has a strong and entertaining second half providing interesting battle situations under the dire desert elements definitely worth seeing. But the reported excessively large budget doesn’t quite meet the worth of the picture.
Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p 2.34:1) A pristine looking picture of epic proportions.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) An excellent sound throughout the picture.
The Making of Day of the Falcon (42:01): An extensive look behind the scenes with multiple interviews from cast and crew as it covers the film production history, including casting, composing, cinematography and the difficulties through various locations.
Transforming the Desert: The Visual Effects of Day of the Falcon (3:13): A fascinating look at the different stages before and after special effects are put onto the screen.
From Storyboard to Screen (2:56): A side by side shot of the storyboard and the final product of the airplane scene.