02 January 2006


This is Traffic about the oil business, but with more storylines. Watching this movie, you have to concentrate very hard. You definitely don’t want to get up and go to the bathroom. In two hours and three minutes, director/writer Stephen Gaghan includes oil company machinations overseas, Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism, US interference with foreign governments on behalf of oil companies, the collaboration of supposed watchdogs in all this skullduggery, and the clear message that this is not capitalism. (As when an Arab character notes that awarding a contract to a Chinese firm (the highest bidder) got him labeled “terrorist.”)

I’ve seen this called a cynical film. I suspect it’s simply accurate. But while Syriana leaves you pessimistic and even scared in terms of our energy and world security future, you also feel gratified that such a movie could be made and shown here.

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