With the end of the semester at our fingertips and a massive load of studying in our laps, there was only enough time to see one flick during this past weekend of mental enhancement.
With "Chronicles of Narnia" and "Syriana" both releasing Friday it was a toss up as to which one I would subject myself to. Seeing as how this country of ours has some deep seeded issues with the Middle East and gasoline, I thought the best decision I could make as a concerned citizen of America was to check out "Syriana" and maybe gain a little more knowledge.
Basing the screenplay on a book written by Robert Baer, "See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism," Academy Award-winning writer Stephen Gaghan wrote and directed this political fury about the dealings of the global oil industry. Similar to his gold-grabbing flick "Traffic," this one follows several different, unrelated characters through a small piece of their lives and how their position in the oil business affects the different aspects of their lives.
George Clooney plays a CIA operative who begins to find out the motivations behind the directions he has unquestionably followed up until this point. Matt Damon takes the role of an oil broker whose family suffers a great tragedy, and he responds by immersing himself in work and his new business partner in the Gulf. Then there's also Jeffrey Wright as a corporate lawyer in charge of convincing the higher-ups of the success to be had by merging two huge US oil companies.
I've been pretty excited to see this flick since the day the trailer flashed before my eyes and expected a fairly quick-moving, dialogue-intensive, political power stroke of a plot. Everything but that pesky little quick movie deal came true. This was satisfying, but didn't make for too enjoyable of a time with sleep prying at my lids.
The plot is very smart though, and the story flowed a lot like it did in "Traffic," intermingling the different sub-plots sporadically in quite a smooth manner. There were times when I felt a little lost and had a hard time putting it back together. This was due to the amount of characters and locations, combined with the intensive dialogue. One cool thing: the movie was true to the dialects of the people in every different location, with subtitles for those who haven't found the time to learn every language in existence. There's nothing more annoying than a movie where the local Iranians speak perfect English.
George Clooney's character, Bob Barnes, takes the cake for most uncomfortable minute on-screen in this one. We'll just say it involves ol' Clooney secured firmly to a chair, an evil torturing man with pliers and couple of fingernails George apparently doesn't really need. I didn't previously know you could hurt yourself from curling your toes too hard.
It's a very smart and apparently realistic portrayal of the current, behind-the-scenes happenings in the most important industry to this country. Just don't spend the money if you're feeling a bit drowsy, you may not make it though the whole thing.
3 out of 5 ram heads