12/11/2005

The price of oil

Syriana is an important film, given the times in which we live. It deals with America's dependence on foreign (Middle Eastern) oil, and the lengths the U.S. will go to protect its interests. It is a complicated, convoluted story, and more than one viewing is probably necessary to fully understand the subtle nuances of Stephen Gaghan (writer of Traffic)'s directorial debut.

The story is told from four seemingly disparate points of view, a grizzled CIA spook, an energy analyst who finds himself consulting for oil-rich Mid East royalty, Texas oil company executives, and a poor, Middle Eastern oil field worker who finds himself out of work. Each would be a compelling tale on its own, and thrown together like this makes for a bit of a jumble, but it's a movie worth puzzling out.

This is a film that makes you think, that doesn't talk down to its audience. It assumes your intelligence and at least a cursory knowledge of the subject matter, and it just might change your opinion about America's influence in the region, whether we've truly been helpful, or a hinderence.

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