Sunday, December 11, 2005
Movie Review - Syriana
Walking into the theater I had very little knowledge about what Syriana was about other than hearing rumors that it was a George Clooney flick about evil corporations. I heard wrong.
The official description says the movie is "a political thriller that unfolds against the intrigue of the global oil industry. From the players brokering back-room deals in Washington to the men toiling in the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, the film's multiple storylines weave together to illuminate the human consequences of the fierce pursuit of wealth and power."
My description is that it's a fascinating, and somewhat worrisome story about people, nations, kings and corporations watching their own backs and doing everything they can to maintain status quo. Status quo being of course cheap gas prices, increased drilling capacity, and wealthy white and Arab folks who do not want to relinquish their own power or personal finances.
The writer/director Stephan Gaghan nails several concepts while weaving several stories together in the movie. First, life the Persian Gulf. The poor immigrant oil workers who toil for pennies and live in double-wides all the while surrounded by a blossoming skyline of skyscrapers and hotels. Sadly, the oil workers have it good compared to most of the people living in poverty and witnessing their nation grow exponentially while leaving them behind. Of all the stories told in this movie, the struggling young non-Arab oil worker who is laid off is the most realistic. A young poor man who struggles in life finds acceptance and love in a radical form of Islam. Throughout the movie you get to see his transition from a young uneducated oil worker to a religious martyr who gives his life to help the clerics/terrorists who gave him everything. Doesn't get much more realistic than that.
Throughout the film, life in the Persian Gulf is portrayed fairly balanced, although the film itself was unbalanced. With so much focus on the manipulative U.S. Government's madness, contrasted with the serene and peaceful teachings and lifestyle of the radical terrorist murderers, and it seems like the director clearly wanted to show which side was good and which was bad.
I walked away with mixed feelings. I really enjoyed the images and storylines of the middle east, yet I detested the 'X-Files' type of evil plot by just a few people within the government and some oil corporations. I was waiting for the Smoking Man to come out any minute and light one up. What's sad is that there are people who will see this and believe every ounce of it... evil plot and all, instead of looking at it from a logical standpoint. They're the same people who cling to every far-fetched story they hear about Bush being Hitler and that our fleet of black oil tankers is sucking Iraq's oil dry.
On my 'Movies are like Drinks' rating system I give Syriana 2 shots of Scottish whiskey. You'll enjoy the beauty, but it'll hurt going down.
posted by El Capitan at 12:55 AM
Well, I was going to blow off Syriana, but I may go see it when it comes to base based on your review.
The thing is, the people who want to go for the "evil American/Zionazi Bushitler" plots behind every corner will do so even if the movie is about immigrants making good in the United States and loving it.
They have even reached their tentacles into zombie movies. Last weekend hubby and I were horrified to turn on Masters of Horror (which has been totally hum-drum anyway) and see that the plotline was Zombie soldiers rising from the grave to go vote Bush out of office and stop the illegal war.
I wasn't horrified that it was a moonbat rant... I was horrified that they had befouled the zombie movie genre.