Time Is Running Out
(previous title: High Wire Act)
Stars: Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike, Dean Norris, Ben Affan, Leila Bekhti and Mohamed Zouaoui
Director: Brad Anderson
Scriptwriter: Tony Gilroy
Composer: John Debney
Cinematography: Bjorn Charpentier
Rating: R for violence
Running Length: 110 minutes
This thriller about negotiating deals with the other side, stars Jon Hamm (television's "Man Men" and born in St. Louis) who slides right into this role of a diplomat in Beirut. There are twists and turns, with the setting being the Middle East from about 1972-1980. The story concerns what happens between brothers on the hostile side and how that affects people on the “peaceful” side. Each has a family story to bring to the table.
Jon Hamm, as Mason Skiles, is an American diplomat living in Beirut with wife Nadia (Leila Bekhti). They are guardians of a homeless teenage Lebanese boy, Karim (Idir Chender). When hosting a party, the Skiles home is invaded by Rami (Ben Affan) who is the presumed-lost brother of Karim. During the home invasion, people are killed. Now it is almost ten years later, Mason drinks steadily and lives in the U.S. When asked to negotiate a business deal, he finds out he has been asked to teach a class in Lebanon. When there, Mason meets CIA people, including Sandy (Rosamund Pike), a CIA field agent. During the chaos after a bombing, Skiles finds the real reason he is in Beirut---to find Rami, who is missing. In exchange, a hostage will be released, who is a friend of Mason’s. Now, the chase begins---who has Rami and where is he? Israel? Palestine? Anywhere else someone is fighting for a cause? Time is running out and Mason must find Rami, but who can help him in this maze of who-can-you-trust?
Even though the story is set over 35 years ago, this type of situation (hostages…car bombings) is still going on. Jon Hamm dives into the role of Mason Skiles, a man who has to pull himself together to figure out just what is going on. Rosamund Pike (“Hostiles”) is the CIA agent who suspects everyone, while you will recognize Dean Norris as a government agent with his trademark inscrutable look.
Hollywood hopes that if “Beirut” achieves enough box-office, there could be another and even another film following the adventures of Mason Skiles, a former diplomat/now negotiator. “Beirut” debuted well at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Time will tell. but this one holds up well.
Copyright 2018 Marie Asner