In the beginning of the Twentieth Century, in Arabia, Emir Nesib of Hobeika defeats Sultan Amar of Salma after years of war between their tribes and they make a peace treaty creating "The Yellow Belt", a large no man's land that would separate their lands and would not belong to neither of them. Further, Nesib demands the sons of Amar, Saleh and Auda, to be raised together with his children Tarik and Leyla by him in Hobeika as a guarantee of their agreement. Fifteen years later, representatives of the Texas Oil find oil in the Yellow Belt and the modern and liberal Emir Nesib sees the opportunity to improve and modernize the life of his tribe, building hospitals and schools, and the American Company begins the exploitation of the oil field, violating the peace pact. Nasib sends a representative to make an agreement with the fundamentalist Sultan Amar, but he does not accept the offer. Saleh decides to travel to Salma to talk to his father and kills his two companions, but he is ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Here are my terms: All I want is your friendship.
And my sons.
Insurance for both of us. As long as they are uder my roof...
I cannot make war with you.
But the sword cuts both ways. We can't make war with you, either. Your sons will be our bond for peace.
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'Black Gold' is an old fashioned epic about feuding fiefdoms in 1930's Arabia, when oil had just been discovered in the region. Mark Strong & Antonio Banderas are the two rulers with a long standing rivalry that metamorphoses into a temporary truce, only to flare up again when their very divergent views inevitably come in the way. Tahar Rahim & Freida Pinto as their respective children, married to each other in what is essentially a politically motivated gesture, attempt to play the peacemakers. Performances - particularly Strong, Rahim & Pinto - are very good. Rahim, playing a Michael Corleone-ish character, does a commendable job. Pinto looks lovely, and Strong as the devout Sultan with a conscience, is nicely understated. As is customary in director Jean-Jacques Annaud's films, the locales & cinematography are breathtaking. The action sequences are crisp & filmed in a raw, realistic manner. Where the film falters, is in taking too long to tell a story that in fact needs far less time. Some passages get boring whereas others keep the viewer completely engrossed. It is this unevenness in the film's pacing that dents the possibility of it soaring high. Overall though, not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.
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