Monday, 14 January 2013

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Tom:
Lawrence of Arabia,1962,UK/USA
Director: David Lean
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness & Anthony Quinn
Sherif Ali: Have you no fear, English?
T.E. Lawrence: My fear is my concern.

A few years back, I attempted a first viewing of 'Lawrence of Arabia', I was ignorant in thinking my 15 year old mind could fully comprehend what I would have seen, I think I ultimately got to 18 minutes in before turning it off, not because I didn't like the film but because 227 minutes just seemed like too tall a task. Years had gone past and I had still yet to see this film, which is considered to be one of the greatest. Recently I had been inspired to finally watch this film, after seeing David Lean's other masterpiece 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' and hearing a friend of mine praise the film and the Blu-ray transfer. I went on eBay and purchased the Blu-Ray and have been preparing to watch it, Today I finally took the leap and as a result was subject to one of the most rewarding cinematic experiences of all time.

An account of T.E Lawrence, A controversial British military figure, whose loyalty comes into question when he serves amongst the Arabic people during the first World War.

The 'Epic' genre can usually be a bit hit and miss for me personally, While I can definitely appreciate films of the sorts ambitions, it sometimes doesn't make for the most compelling film. 'Lawrence of Arabia' may be ambitious film I have ever seen and its ambitions are fully rewarding as it results in one of the greatest film experiences ever.
The film is so grand in scope and so gutsy, It is a fearless effort from David Lean, who takes chances here that other filmmakers would never dream of, and they all pay off. Its one of the most remarkable things to see someones ballsy idea come to life and be greater that you could possibly imagine, but that's exactly what this film is like.

It's hard to keep any audience members full attention for almost four hours, but 'Lawrence of Arabia' achieves it, through the use of some of the most spellbinding images put on film and amazingly powerful moments. The cinematography, by Freddie Young, is some of the greatest I have ever seen, the shots of the desert are almost indescribable and are most definitely timeless, this almost looks like a film that may have been in the last decade.

I have to take a moment to just mention the Blu-Ray because it may be the greatest transfer I have ever seen. The people at Sony entertainment did an incredible job with this film, I'm not sure if it was a difficult or not due to the film being 70mm with a 4K resolution, but still this is just unbelievable stuff and has to be witnessed.

The performances in this film are fantastic, Peter O'Toole gives the performance that has defined his career, and he does a remarkable bringing T.E Lawrence back to life, Lawrence has to be one of the most complex characters I have ever encountered, I am still trying to decide weather was a hero or a villain, but I guess that we aren't supposed to really know and that's why he is one of the most interesting figures in human history. O'Toole's performance does him justice and is unforgettable. The legendary Alec Guinness co -stars, who gave in my opinion his greatest performance ever in 'The Bridge on the River Kwai', here Guinness plays the peculiar role of the Arabic Prince Feisal, its a strange casting choice that's end up paying off in a big way as Guinness gives a fantastic showing, as you would expect from the man. The rest of the cast is brilliant as well, especially from Anthony Quinn whom I thought was remarkable as Auda Abu Tayi. The film also features the likes of Jack Hawkins, Claude Rains,Omar Sharif and Anthony Quayle among many others.

I apologize that this review wasn't very in depth but it can be a daunting task to write about a film like these, which has been discussed in depth by many for over 50 years. I will say this is a cinematic masterpiece and is must see film especially on Blu-Ray. The visuals are incredible, the Direction is masterful, the performances are amazing and the film is unforgettable. It would be blasphemous to not give this film 5 stars.

*****

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