At least half of the €40 million (estimated) budget was misspent on this overblown tale of love, jealousy and generational mayhem amongst the sand dunes in the 1930s, as Prince Auda treads an uneasy line between allegiance to his father’s conservative brand of Islam and the innovations embraced by his father-in-law with revenue from newly discovered oil. When spectacles signal progress, expect short-sightedness. Only good camera work can alleviate the unremitting tedium, and it does: the cinematography is stupendous.
Black Gold | Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud (France, Italy, Qatar 2011) with Tahar Rahim, Mark Strong, Antonio Banderas. Starts February 9