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In the beginning of the Twentieth Century, in Arabia, Emir Nesib of Hobeika defeats Sultan Amar of Salma after years of war between their tribes and they make a peace treaty creating "The Yellow Belt", a large no man's land that would separate their lands and would not belong to neither of them. Further, Nesib demands the sons of Amar, Saleh and Auda, to be raised together with his children Tarik and Leyla by him in Hobeika as a guarantee of their agreement. Fifteen years later, representatives of the Texas Oil find oil in the Yellow Belt and the modern and liberal Emir Nesib sees the opportunity to improve and modernize the life of his tribe, building hospitals and schools, and the American Company begins the exploitation of the oil field, violating the peace pact. Nasib sends a representative to make an agreement with the fundamentalist Sultan Amar, but he does not accept the offer. Saleh decides to travel to Salma to talk to his father and kills his two companions, but he is ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
They don't make many movies like this anymore, it felt like somebody had discovered a lost gem from the 1970s, with real extras, real horses and real camels instead of the soulless computer copies of todays CGI productions. I loved it! Also the story remained interesting, when the Prince has a difficult decision to make whose side he'll be on.
The story apparently is not precisely following actual historical events, but takes the liberty of creating a world of the 1930s like it could have been. No maps are shown on the screen to show which army moves where, because it is the general feeling of a changing world that matters, the struggle between different attitudes, not the history lesson. I do not know why this artistic freedom is making some viewers complain. Hundreds of western movies described battles between soldiers and Indians which were only vaguely similar to actual history, so I don't think this discussion is necessary. "Black Gold" is an adventure movie, first of all. Actually, the makers balance very well between the entertainment value and ambitions beyond that, neither too heavy nor too light. A good compromise was found between a commercial approach and content that has something to say. When the oil flows over the ground, useless like a pond of black ink, one wonders: is it worth all that fighting? One review here said 'the director made a mistake, there is no pipeline', which proves that the poetry of pictures is really lost on some people. Anyway.
The makers, supported by the Emirate of Qatar, succeeded in putting the Arabs in the focus, and if the American guy from Texas Oil remains a cartoon character with a silly hat, it's hardly an accident. Best actors to me were Tahar Rahim as Prince Auda and Mark Strong as Amar, his father. Antonio Banderas, however, had a license for staring, it seems. Any time he has got a close-up without much to say: yes, he stares in an interesting way. The director could have told him him not to overdo it, but I guess it's easier said than done.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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