Monday, April 17, 2006

Syriana - A Complex and powerful movie

Syriana
Saw this movie en route to Sydney. I am not sure if this movie ever made it to Chennai but a very powerful and a complex movie about the international oil industry from the writer of Traffic. I understand this is the first major directorial venture by Stephen Gaghan. He has done a wonderful job of developing several different story lines (5 ?) in a complex plot and show how 'everything is connected' in the end. He has deals with the hottest topic of our times and shows how the need to control oil supplies drives international politics from assassinations to suicide bombings.

Syriana depicts the race to control oil in Middle East by any means necessary. From mergers to pay offs to assassinations everything seems to be fair game in the murky international oil business. The plot if complex and play out in several countries and communicate in different languages, which along with locales bring a truly international flavor to this movie. Even though there are lot of sub plots, they have a lot in common and I would recommend watching the film couple of times so that one can piece things together.

The cast is numerous and I could recognize only Matt Damon and George Clooney and even that was difficult. George Clooney is almost unrecognizable and plays the role of a CIA officer who falls from grace. I think he got an Oscar for his role in this film. He has done a wonderful job and he deserves it. Matt Damon plays the role of a young derivatives professional who is about to change the middle east landscape with his radical ideas.

In all the movie is very griping and strikes a chord, but takes a several viewing to understand the real magnitude of the issues covered.

Acting A (for powerful portrayal by George and others)
Direction A (for delivering on a complex plot)

Overall B+ (for taking the issue of our times and showing various angles)

Bottom Line - Watch it.. a few times