Syriana - Movie Review

What a great film! Top writing, amazing production values and that certain je ne sais quois which imbues every frame with meaning far beyond it’s 1/24th of a second would warrant.

The film deals with the nasty politics and business of oil told from the viewpoints of pretty much everyone who’s connected with it. From the oil men - both those in their suits and private jets to the contract worker on the rig - to the bankers to the politicians and the intelligence agencies to the Emirs who sit on the “world’s greatest natural resource”. The tagline “everything is connected” rings throughout the movie as we cut from scene to scene telling the stories of all these different people. The ruthless lawyers and oilmen, the Emirs with their hands tied by the awesome military and economic might of the United States, the conscienscious derivatives trader who befriends a progressive contender to the throne of some Middle Eastern emirate and Clooney, fat Clooney as the CIA man and the common-variety suicide bomber - they are all connected in this massive web of treachery and corruption (“Corruption charges. Corruption? Corruption ain’t nothing more than government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulation. That’s Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around here instead of fighting each other for scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win.”). The politics of the movie are put across subtly with no pandering to audience ignorance. Director Stephen Gaghan makes his point quietly.
The production values were superb. What beautiful cinematography, pacing like a Kenyan marathon runner’s and music just subtle enough to nudge you into the right mood. If you live in the real world, you must watch this movie.