Coming out on a single-disc Blu-ray package, the action-adventure drama “Day of the Falcon,” originally titled “Black Gold” for the international market, features a soaring epic that centers on two rival kingdoms’ bloody war during the dawn of the oil boom in the Middle East. Exploring the themes of love, honor, greed, family pride, betrayal, and traditions, it follows the story of star-crossed lovers whose families get caught up in a reignited conflict after the discovery of oil between their territories.
This film by award-winning director Jean-Jacques Annaud, also the helmer of “Enemy at the Gates” and “Seven Years in Tibet,” boasts an international cast including Antonio Banderas, Mark Strong, Freida Pinto, Nathin Butler, and Tahar Rahim.
This sumptuously photographed piece showcases an exceptional palette of royal environments, bright yellow desert landscapes, deep blue and black Arab locales, and large-scale battle sequences. The gorgeous sceneries reflect the production’s hefty budget. Reminiscent of David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia” with its theme and setting, it presents many complex desert locations with endless varieties of sand and fine details of camels, horses, guns, and tanks.
Actors’ skin tones look natural throughout. The pleasing grain structure helps create many consistently crisp and breathtaking moments. Shots don’t suffer from crucial artifacts and other visual anomalies.
The film’s five-channel lossless track delivers a traditional Hollywood-style epic mix that bridges the gap between the film’s Western point of view and its Middle Eastern subject matter. There is a distinct sense of environment in most scenes. The surround elements don’t call attention to themselves and the effects and atmospheric noise blend smoothly. Dialogue remains clear from start to end. The appropriately grand score sounds contemplative and mournful for the narrative’s needs.
The package contains the comprehensive documentary “The Making of Day of the Falcon” and the special effects featurettes “Transforming the Desert: The Visual Effects of Day of the Falcon” and “From Storyboard to Screen.” Ironically, the film’s trailer is not included in the disc’s roster of featured movie trailers. Subtitles are available in English SDH and Spanish.
A bit slow and confusing at the start but finding some exciting moments midway through, “Day of the Falcon” turns out as a mixed bag. As this ambitious picture rehashes its centuries-old conflict about the power struggle between two feuding kingdoms, it strives to examine the themes of honor and betrayal in between underdeveloped conflicts, plot contrivances, and uneven and dragging parts. Yet, its dependence on grandeur to create big drama, big romance, and big battles for its willing audience still makes it an average epic that best shines through its fine collection of sweeping action sequences.