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Black Gold (12A)


Set in the 1930s Arab states at the dawn of the oil boom, the story centers on a young Arab prince torn between allegiance to his conservative father and modern, liberal father-in-law.

The critical consensus

A disappointingly cliched effort.

**(*)(*)(*)Kaleem Aftab, The List, 27/01/2012

Banderas hams and Pinto flutters. If it weren’t for Strong and some colourful art direction, you could chalk this up as a busted well.

**(*)(*)(*)Matt Mueller, Total Film, 13/02/2012

While the film is from the Arabs’ viewpoint, it’s been produced by those who wish to justify their continued presence in the East, creating an overall sense of a deceptively alluring piece of propaganda cementing America’s right to Arabian oil.

***(*)(*)Callum, TV Bomb, 20/02/2012

Black Gold was full of good intentions. As admirable is it was to deal with such epic themes as greed, capitalism, religious fundamentalism, peace and war, no amount of money and superficial gloss could distract from the film’s contrived dialogue, melodramatic characters and farcical plot.

Greg Gallagher, STV, 19/02/2012

The production values don’t stint on gloss and camels, but like the black gold that underpins all the desert feuds, Jean-Jacques Annaud’s script is definitely crude.

**(*)(*)(*)Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman, 21/02/2012

Ambitious but very tedious and talkatively hackneyed, redeemed just a smidge by the money shots of a swarm of extras on horseback sweeping across the sands.

**(*)(*)(*)Angie Errigo, Empire Online, 21/02/2012

A distinctly average adventure which has us wishing for more.

**(*)(*)(*)Tom Cottey, Little White Lies, 23/02/2012

Each scene feels longer than the last, and the supporting cast’s performances are cruder than the black stuff bubbling from the desert.

*(*)(*)(*)(*)Robbie Collin, The Telegraph, 23/02/2012

Armies clash; extras rhubarb; star Tahar Rahim (of A Prophet) looks sexy and puppy-eyed while slaughtering thousands.

**(*)(*)(*)Nigel Andrews, Financial Times, 23/02/2012

All you will remember from it is sand, lots and lots of... sand.

*(*)(*)(*)(*)Anthony Quinn, The Independent, 24/02/2012

Black Gold feels like it could have been made in the 1950s; we have come to expect a little more from our blockbusters.

**(*)(*)(*)Andrew Pulver, The Guardian, 23/02/2012

This should have everything from lust in the dust to the searing injustice that forged a nation but the script is weak and only a hammy Banderas and an imposing Strong really stamp their authority on the piece.

**(*)(*)(*)Allan Hunter, Daily Express, 24/02/2012

The oil business has inspired some great films, notably There Will Be Blood. As for this, there will be yawns.

David Edwards, Daily Record, 24/02/2012

Freddie Young and John Seale, who won Oscars as cinematographers on respectively Lawrence and The English Patient, both made sand look more interesting than it does here.

Philip French, The Observer, 26/02/2012

You're left feeling that Black Gold could have been more incisive on the ways in which the Arab world, and indeed the whole world, has been reshaped by the oil industry. But were you to stumble on Jean-Jacques Annaud's film on television on a bank holiday afternoon, it would keep you watching till dinner time.

Nicholas Barber, The Independent, 26/02/2012

As the sands swirl the score does likewise and the costumed silliness mounts.

**(*)(*)(*)Alison Rowat, The Herald, 23/02/2012

Features about Black Gold (12A)

Jean-Jacques Annaud's Arabian frights

Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian, 21/02/2012

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

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