Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BEIRUT & YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE (2 reviews, No spoilers)

I am writing two quick reviews of two movies, BEIRUT and YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE for two reasons. First off, I just saw them this past Sunday, they have been in the  theater for a bit but I just now got to check them out. Secondly, they are about to leave the theater tomorrow or next week. Whoops, guess there is a third as I wanted to recommend both of them if you ever get a chance to watch them.

BEIRUT stars Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike and a unrecognizable Dean Norris, about a former U.S. diplomat in 1982, returning to Beirut after ten years to save a colleague from a terrorist group responsible for murdering his family. The movie works mainly because of Jon Hamm’s performance. I don’t know if I like him as a person all that much because of what I’ve seen in interviews and heard about his private life, but like Tom Cruise, he can act the pants off anything and always brings his A-game.

The movie almost falters because of the very predictable plot. No doubt the film is entertaining and it is actually a unique in the beginning but then when several twists and turns are revealed it turns into a lame conspiracy mess. You can basically keep up with each beat and plot point and if you don’t, don’t worry, some characters spells it all out for the viewer (you know, in case we were that stupid). The film is light on action but the dialogue is nice and hefty, thanks to screenwriter Tony Gilroy (if you don’t know who he is apparently he saved Rogue One from being a complete disaster and even wrote that awesome Darth Vader scene at the end).

The finale is a little white knuckle even if it is predictable, but I didn’t regret seeing the film. It probably in the end won’t be very memorable but if you are bored and happen to see it on Netflix, you could make much worse choices…like any Netflix Adam Sandler film. By the way, Rosamund Pike is good in this movie but isn’t given that much to do.

Speaking of a conspiracy mess, it’s funny how YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE also contains one, and the conspiracy is almost as outlandish as it was in Beirut. Out of the two movies though I recommend this one more, in all essence because of Joaquin Phoenix’s performance alone. He stars as a hired post traumatic stress depressed war veteran that is hired tracking down missing and trafficked girls. And….that is all you need to know really. One of the girls he is trying to track leads to a big conspiracy. And while it was cool trying to figure out what was going on, the end result, at least for me, was a little ho-hum. I thought the conspiracy was too outlandish for the people involved to never have been caught until now.

The movie is supposed to be dark, gritty, and hyper realistic, and it is, but the conspiracy kind of takes that jolt and almost brings it to an absurd crossing the line ludicrous kind of affair. I did like a minor twist with the ending, and the movie is a tight 90 minutes to recommend anyone that finds this on a streaming service when it eventually comes to video. The movie is worth watching for Joaquin Phoenix alone, who turns in probably his best performance to date. If this movie was released later in the year, he could’ve been up for an Oscar but it just being released and being extremely limited, I am very doubtful unless every Oscar prospect sucks at the end of the year.

And be for warned, the movie is pretty violent and has some disturbing content for those with a faint of heart. But yeah, worth seeing for the performance and the gritty realism, but it almost loses itself with the out of whack conspiracy.

Anyway, if your interest is piqued I believe these are still playing at Cinemark Legacy and Cinemark West Plano, but if you don’t have the time, definitely give them a Netflix view.


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