There's two things I'd like to get out of the way before I start this review. First, If a movie doesn't interest me too much, or its overly long-I fall asleep. Especially if I'm watching a movie on a couch (I do better at a movie theater. Second, I abhor movies that I feel are too long. 95% of all movies that come in at the 3:00 hour mark could easily be edited down to 2:30 or less and be a more streamlined film. If I feel the movie is too induldgent (two films come in mind-2006 The Holiday and The Return of the King) I'm even more critical on the films (although the holiday was poor at best and The Return of the King was the weakest of the three lotr films-all fairly good but not deserving of the hype). So, I've gone 30 years avoiding watching Lawrence of Arabia partly mostly because these two quirks. A film nearly at the 4 hour mark? I don't think so. However, even though its one of my dad's favorite films and my mom swears I coudn't have gotten through childhood without seeing it, I hadn't.
Last week NPR did a simply marvelous interview with Peter O'Toole including a web only excerpt where he talks about the making of "Lawrence of Arabia." The following day I moved the film to the top of my netflix queue. Kell and I ended up watching it Saturday night (we are lame). I planned to break it up over a period of nights, but she informed me we were watching it all the way through. Needless to say, I think the film to tell that particular story was the perfect length, at 3 hours 50+ minutes, and I didn't even drift off.
I think the most used adjective used Saturday night during the viewing of the film was "crazy." However, the film brilliantly portrayed the complexities of T.E. Lawrence. His descent into brutality, his struggles with the inner demons, including his alleged homosexuality. We couldn't figure out if Peter O'Toole was a little fruity, or what was going on with this (we watched the "skipping" scene twice-that was awesome). After reading the wiki entries of T.E. Lawrence, it all came clear. Although there was little visible brutality, the implied brutality was powerful, as was the effect on Lawrence. The acting in this is phenomenal, but the cinematography is simply astounding. There's many shots that move the story along and could be photography masterpieces standing alone. The desert scenes are gorgeous, and bare. Anyway, if you haven't seen it yet, check it out.