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Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Smart political thriller has violence, language, drinking.

Movie R 2018 109 minutes
Beirut Poster Image

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With direction by pro genre filmmaker Brad Anderson and a smart, dense screenplay by Tony Gilroy, this political thriller is a satisfying combination of snaky, heady talk and fun popcorn thrills. Though by no means an accurate representation of a history -- or even of a culture -- Beirut feels like spy thriller the way they used to make 'em, with a big star drinking and swaggering his way through a role, staying one jump ahead of the bad guys and making it look good. Hamm captures just the right combination of emotional damage and seasoned expertise to make Mason Skiles compelling.

Gilroy, who wrote many of the Bourne movies, laces his script with barked arguments, terse meetings, heated accusations, furrowed-brow discussions, and realizations that certain parties can't be trusted. It's a bit brainy, and it requires viewers to pay attention. But the movie also knows when to cut loose with a chase, a foray into dangerous territory, or a shoot-out, and Anderson -- a veteran of horror and suspense, with films like The Machinist, Transsiberian, and The Call under his belt -- responds with crisp, tight, economical filmmaking. Despite its downbeat setting and bleak images, Beirut aims for diverting, grown-up entertainment and neatly succeeds.

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