Published On: Tue, Apr 10th, 2018

‘Beirut’ puts Jon Hamm in the center of 1980’s Lebanese politics

Offering up commentary on 2019 politics, Jon Hamm’s new film, Beirut, centers around a fictional hostage crisis in war-torn 1982 Lebanon and asks if diplomacy is better used than force.

Brad Anderson (The Call, The Machinist) directs from a script by Tony Gilroy, writer of four Jason Bourne films and the director of The Bourne Legacy. Hamm stars as an American diplomat Mason Skiles who is happily married to Nadia (Leila Bekhti). While they have no kids, but they do look at 13-year-old orphaned refugee Karim as almost like an adopted child, but it turns out though that Karim has an older brother who is a wanted Palestinian terrorist suspected in the massacre of the Israeli team at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Skiles is trying to protect the child from the reach of the Israeli agents, but Karim is taken during a party and a tragic attack. The story fast forwards to Skiles, who begrudgingly returns to Beirut to deal with a new kidnapping, this time with Karim leading the terrorist group.

Check out the full synopsis below.

Described as a “grown up thriller,” praising Hamm’s leading role, Beirut is garnering a ton of the attention from the industry talking heads. The supporting cast is amazing: Rosamund Pike (The Libertine, Jack Reacher and Gone Girl), Mark Pellegrino (Supernatural, Dexter, Lost), Dean Norris (Under the Dome, Breaking Bad) and Shea Whigham (Agent Carter, Kong Skull Island, Boardwalk Empire).

There is little doubt that Beirut is a throwback to 80’s thrillers. The commentary on arrogant Americans thrusting their ideals into the political and violent Middle East is a sensitive topic in 2018, particularly for the Lebanese people still mired in judgments and pro-Israeli biases.

That said, it’s intriguing to see Hamm transition into this role, not quite an action star, but worthy for a place in spy genre films.


In 1972 Beirut, American diplomat Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm) hosts a cocktail party accompanied by his wife and Karim, the 13-year old Lebanese orphan (Yoau Saian Rosenberg) whom they hope to adopt. The festivities are disrupted when Mason’s best friend, CIA Agent Cal Riley (Mark Pellegrino) arrives with startling information about Karim. Seconds later, terrorists attack the party with tragic results.

Ten years later, Mason, now an alcoholic working as a mediator for labor disputes in Boston, gets approached by a stranger in a bar, who hands him a passport, cash and a plane ticket along with an urgent invitation from mutual “friends” that he travel to Beirut. Reluctantly, Mason arrives in Beirut only to find that the formerly picturesque city on the sea has become a violence-ridden warzone. Mason soon discovers the real reason he’s been called back. CIA and Embassy officials Donald Gaines (Dean Norris), Gary Ruzak (Shea Whigham) and Ambassador Frank Whalen (Larry Pine) explain that terrorists have kidnapped a CIA agent. Mason’s mission: negotiate a swap for the release of terrorist leader Abu Rajal (Hicham Ouraqa), believed to be imprisoned by Israeli secret police, in exchange for the American.

Navigating the rubble-strewn city with the help of his Embassy-assigned handler, savvy “cultural attaché” Sandy Crowder (Rosamund Pike), Mason secretly meets with the kidnappers and uncovers clues that help him unravel competing agendas advanced by Israeli military boss Roni Niv (Alon Aboutboul), American politicians, Palestinian Liberation Front minister Bashir (Ahmed Said Arif) and corrupt bureaucrats. Confronting ghosts from his past, Mason faces a formidable question: Who do you trust in a world where the truth emerges only when it’s convenient — or profitable? A taut action thriller from director Brad Anderson and writer-producer Tony Gilroy, Beirut takes an unflinching look at the cost of freedom.

Beirut stars Jon Hamm (“Mad Men,” Baby Driver), Rosamund Pike (Gone GirlHostiles), Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad,” “Under the Dome”), Mark Pellegrino (Capote, Mulholland Drive), Larry Pine (Vanya on 42nd Street, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Shea Whigham (American HustleTake Shelter), Alon Moni Aboutboul (The Dark Knight RisesBody of Lies), Idir Chender (Carbone, Occidental) and Jonny Coyne (Nightcrawler, Gangster Squad).

Directed by Brad Anderson (The Machinist, “The Wire”). Written by Tony Gilroy (The Bourne IdentityMichael Clayton). Produced by Mike Weber (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Spring Breakers), Tony Gilroy, Shivani Rawat (Trumbo, Captain Fantastic) and Monica Levinson (Captain Fantastic, Borat). Executive producers are Ted Field (The Last Samurai, Runaway Bride) and Steven Saeta (The Island, Spider-Man). Director of Photography is Björn Charpentier (About the Boy Who Ate an Oakwood Chair, Mixed Kebab). Production designer is Arad Sawat (FoxtrotNorman). Editor is Andrew Hafitz (BullyEquity). Costume design by Carlos Rosario (Don’t BreatheBoulevard). Music is by John Debney (The Jungle Book, The Passion of the Christ).

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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