In style, Beirut reminds of gritty dramas such as Sicario and the Ben Affleck-directed Argo.

It has the most in common with Argo in the way director Brad Anderson (The Machinist), shooting from a Tony Gilroy (State of Play, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) script, tells his story.

It recalls gritty ’70s-era dramas, likely intentional considering the film’s story begins in that decade.

But while it doesn’t rise completely to Argo’s level, it possesses some of the dramatic chops and thrills to match. The problem the filmmakers give the audience: clichés all over the place. In many respects Beirut is something we’ve seen many times before in many other films.

Whether a movie can suffer through those tired tropes depends primarily upon execution.

Beirut stars Jon Hamm (Mad Men) as Mason Skiles, an American businessman moving and shaking in early ’70s Lebanon. Just as he’s about to pull the deal of his life at a dinner party he and his wife are hosting, it all collapses.

Karim, a 13-year-old orphan that he and his wife are fond of, brings violence and tragedy to their lives. It turns out the boy is the brother of a notorious and wanted terrorist. On the night of the party, terrorists attack with one target in mind — Karim.

His brother wants him back and he gets him. In the process, however, Skiles wife is accidentally killed by their best friend, Cal (Mark Pellegrino), a government agent.

Fast forward nearly a decade and Skiles, a lawyer by trade, is plying his trade as a labor arbitrator. He’s also climbed into a bottle to deal with his personal misery.

But he’s going to get a shot at redemption.

Cal’s been kidnapped by terrorists in Beirut and at the perpetrator’s request, they will only deal with Skiles. Guess who the lead terrorist is?

That sets up the rest of the intriguing premise of Beirut, a movie that ultimately proves to be at least as smart as it is stylish, and is executed so well the clichés are easily forgiven.

Anderson and Gilroy wisely don’t rely on Skiles’ alcoholism as a crutch to move their story forward. Additionally, they could just as easily use the former relationship between Skiles and Karim to manipulate the audience.

Instead they tread lightly, yielding to the more realistic scenario that would grip these two.

Hamm finally receives a role that he can chew upon and makes the most of it. He plays Skiles with more than a hint of ambiguity. Is he as mentally exhausted and broken as he appears or is there some shred of humanity left for him to claim?

The answer is as two-sided as the lead character in Beirut, a movie well worth the time.

George M. Thomas dabbles in movies and television for the Beacon Journal. Reach him at Follow him on Twitter and Facebook @GeorgeThomasABJ.