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Movie Review: Syriana

Thursday, March 30, 2006
My brother and I just watched Syriana. While we saw it at The Mission, I'm not sure I'd recommend a couple of drinks with this film. It's an incredibly complex movie about the oil trade, national and corporate dependency on oil, and high-level strategic position for the oil-related future.

Some of the messages that I left the film with (and I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying this) is a) it is in our strategic interests to maintain chaos in the Middle East, because b) multinational corporations will then basically be able to subdivide the region so that we can have cheaper and easier access to oil. I'll be honest, though... it helped that I listened to an interview with Robert Baer (the writer of the book on which the screenplay was based) on NPR a while ago. This is not a film you're going to walk away from feeling like a good person, though, especially as an American.

I'm going to go off topic for a moment, though, and complain about a new trend I'm seeing in movies. As I noted with Good Night, and Good Luck, there seems to be a new trend (much like during the late 60s/early 70s) where editing and camera shot selection just plain suck. I mean, showing someone's stomach while they start mumbling isn't much of an establishing shot. I first noticed this in Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, where the cinematography was distracting from the actual movie and just trying to make out what was happening on screen made it harder to make out what was happening in the film.

Anyway, that's just my rant. I don't like the new trend though, unfortunately, many of the movies that are using this new style tend to be great enough to still be good despite it. So, final word on Syriana: Rent it, it's worth seeing.

1 Comments:

Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

Good review .. didn't really care for Syriana myself .. thought they tried to pile on way too many issues without taking an ounce of time for character development

4:08 PM, March 30, 2006  

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