A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia Film Details
Overview: Lawrence and Feisal go to argue for Arab independence at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.
Review: I viewed this DVD on my computer, and did have some difficulty understanding the audio, that came across as sometimes faint or fuzzy, but I shall comment on this well acted film nonetheless. Lawrence After Arabia is an interesting film for the psychological dimension portrayed in the main character, T.E. Lawrence, (Ralph Fiennes) an archeologist and Colonel, in the British forces, during World War I, at the time of the Paris Peace Conference, in 1919. Sometime during the war, Lawrence forms a rather close friendship with Prince Feisel,(Alexander Siddig) of the Arab lands. At the start of peace negotiations, Lawrence wants to be perceived as nothing more, than as a mere interpreter for the Prince’s cause, which is to keep the Arab nations, under Arab rule. But underlying this simple role, he truly desires to be a hero among mankind, one responsible for settling the Middle East, post war. Lawrence’s goal is to ensure that the Prince receives rule over Syria. But the French want Syria, and the British want the Persian Gulf, ultimately as a means to acquiring oil. In the film’s introduction, we are taken into a movie theatre, where a documentary is being shown of Lawrence and Feisel’s camel journey, in the desert. From that point, we are taken back to the point where Lawrence and Feisel have agreed that Lawrence will represent Feisel and his country, as a spokesperson leading up to and during the peace conferences. As a part of the plan, Lawrence has Feisel pretend not to speak or understand any other language than his own, even when he is fluent in English. Lawrence, with all of his heart, pleads Feisel’s cause to many, but primarily the British, French, and Australians. A subtle turn of events occurs when Lawrence communicates with leaders of participating nations. He begins to let the importance, romanticism, and glamour of it all, inflate his ego. We see a noticeable change, when he begins to proudly wear the colorful and silky Arab head pieces. At the time, reporters cover a story on the relationship between the Prince and Lawrence. Lawrence lavishes in all the attention, while the Prince is completely ignored by all. The Prince is utterly upset at Lawrence’s display of egoism and disregard for inclusiveness. But not soon later, leaders begin to view Lawrence as a traitor to his country. He is scorned, and instructed to return to Oxford, in England, where he is to continue his studies. Even Feisel now realizes that he, himself, is capable of communicating his own cause, without the help of Lawrence. Feisel declares himself ruler of Syria. The French protest. Britain along with Lawrence’s influence, will assign Feisel, as ruler of Iraq. The film’s conclusion will shortly follow. What makes this story interesting is Lawrence’s dare to live his day dreams, by day. In his introductory monologue to the film, he claims himself to be a dangerous man for it. But really, we find it is only dangerous when the dream inflates or deflates the ego. In this case, his dreams do both. On further thought, he is really dangerous to himself more than to anyone else. We sense that Lawrence dreams of being a great negotiator among influential men. He succeeds at times, but when he does not, he has a difficult time coping with failure and lack of recognition. He wants to be everyone’s hero and we see this when he eloquently and impeccably pleads Feisel’s cause, both in English and in French, to a commission of nation’s leaders. Ralph opens himself up well to playing this unique lead, characterized as one who is never quite satisfied with himself or the situation, and one who is, at times, plagued by weakness and defeat. The magnetic vulnerability and weakness that Ralph can create does not come from self-deprecation, but from a more unconscious and organic feel. The character’s weakness, in this instance, appears to originate from an unstable ego, one possibly marred by lack of firm and stable support, but from whom? The answer could rest in many, including his family, his community, or at the present time, leaders of nations. It is evident that his ego is wired for peace and not war. Additionally, Lawrence is a private man. His sensitive nature slowly surfaces when a strikingly beautiful woman, named Mme. Dumont (Polly Walker) makes an advance for sex, in his bedroom. At that moment, he is at first sickened, and then roused to a slight form of hysterical laughter. It is not the sort of affirmation he is seeking, presently. He leaves the woman untouched, as he is honest to his emotion. At times, Lawrence is clever, quick, and smart, but at other times, he is too restrained and controlled. Yet, he is treading in sensitive waters, as he must show a sense of respect, even subservience to his elders, in higher command. If he looses control and composure, he will loose his credibility and other’s attention. Then, he will be perceived as someone who is unable to negotiate. Hence, in terms of composure, Lawrence masters this art. Still, ultimately, he cannot persuade leaders to believe his cause. The higher powers are looking to bargain for a key natural resource, oil. Ideally, the goal is two fold: settle the land and negotiate an oil deal. Lawrence is a smaller fish swimming in a much larger sea. Nevertheless, we admire his interesting, yet still underdeveloped alliance, with Prince Feisel. Although one might desire more dialogue to play up the depth of each character, we are captured by Lawrence’s sensitive ego and vulnerable spirit. Ralph delivers this role in the meticulous fashion it requires.
Duration: 107 min
Genre: Adventure, Biography, Drama, War
Also known as: Lawrence después de Arabia,Niebezpieczny człowiek: Lawrence po Arabii,Um Homem Perigoso,En farlig man,O Lawrence meta tin Aravia,A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia