Synopsis: Caught in the crossfires of civil war, CIA operatives must send a former U.S. diplomat to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind.
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director(s): Brad Anderson
Production: Bleecker Street
Rotten Tomatoes:
109 min


For 4,000 years...

...villains and heroes,

and they don't do that here.

Here, you have Jews, Muslims, Christians,

all living shoulder to shoulder,

and it's messy.

And the challenge

for the State Department, for us...

Sounds like

I'm not gonna get a quick answer.

Mason's just playing the diplomat,


He's been here long enough

to explain this place in a minute.

Let's have

the shorter version. Give me the snapshot.

I don't know if I'd call it

a snapshot, but I tell people,

"If you wanna understand Lebanon, think

of a boardinghouse without a landlord."

The only thing the tenants have in common

is their talent for betrayal.

So these people have been living together,

cheek by jowl, 20 centuries.

2,000 years of revenge, blood feuds,

vendetta, murder.

One night there's a storm.

Raining like hell.

There's a knock at the door.

Who is it? It's the Palestinians.

They want in.

They've been up and down the block.

They had doors slammed in their face.

They're cold. They're tired.

They want in and they want in now.

So the house is thrown into confusion.

Tenants arguing.

Some of 'em violently opposed.

Some think, "Let 'em in.

They'll be gone tomorrow."

Some think, "I let them in tonight,

then I'll have an ally against my enemy."

Some of 'em are terrified

if they keep the door shut.

So it isn't until after

the Palestinians move in

that the other people in the house

realize the tragedy of the situation.

That the Palestinians want nothing more

than to just burn down

the Israeli house next door.

Welcome to Beirut.

I told you he's good.

- Sure is.

- And so it goes.

Mr. Skiles.

a va? How are you?

You look beautiful. You look great.

Mason Skiles. How do you do?

We have not met. How do you do?

Nice to see you again. There he is.

We know who

we don't wanna make deals with.

The lessons of Vietnam have been learned.

And I think our president

has got his own things

on the domestic front to deal with.

But what we definitely don't wanna do is

establish any sort of permanent presence.

- Where are you from?

- Washington, DC.

Well, good for you. Welcome. Here we are.

The party is a delight.

Thank you!

We understand

that Beirut, specifically,

and Lebanon, more generally,

has enough people coming in

and trying to put fingerprints on it.

We don't wanna be one of those.

We just wanna make sure

everybody has a fair playing ground

to contribute

to a stable regional economy.

That's what I think.

The congressman

can certainly speak more to that.

Karim, this is some friends of ours.

This is Agnes and Joanne

from the United Kingdom.

Karim's been keeping everybody well-fed.

- Good job.

- Thank you.

How old is he?

He looks young.

He's about 13.

He's from one of the Palestinian

refugee camps in West Beirut.

He stuck around,

and he's become a part of the family,

which is very nice.

-My lovely wife, Nadia.

-Nice to meet you.

- You know the congressman.

- Are you enjoying Beirut?

-We've been having a very nice time.

-Yeah. Yes.

I find it's a beautiful place,

full of beautiful people.


One beautiful person in particular.

As a diplomat in the Middle East,

you have to think on your feet.

And the more you do it,

the better you get at it.

When you talk about making deals,

the most important thing

is to keep talking.

As soon as the talking stops,

the fighting starts.

You need to come in

from a diplomatic standpoint

and explain to everybody involved,

"This is what we have to work with.

These are the pieces

on the game board right now."

Thank you for being here.

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Tony Gilroy

Anthony Joseph "Tony" Gilroy is an American screenwriter and filmmaker. He wrote the screenplays for the Bourne series starring Matt Damon, among other successful films, and directed the fourth film of the franchise. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Beirut" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 5 Jun 2023. <>.

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