Friday, December 30, 2005
I have seen this movie twice, talked it up at work, and will certainly be buying the Dvd and the book the movie is based on. I have not researched very deeply into the "oil industry"--this does not make me oblivious to it being as vital as blood. To digress for a moment, my current research subjects include "Pinochet", "Opium", and the high cost of "Prohibition". More on those subjects and full book reviews as I finish items. Back to "Syriana", by way of "Constant Gardener".
"Constant Gardener" is the latest LeCarre novel to be adapted for the screen. LeCarre is well known writer of espionage novels, and has had at least 6 novels converted to films. While I have enjoyed all of the movies to varying degrees, none of them--including the best one, "Little Drummer Girl", approach the density of the text version.
"Syriana" does just that, without the benefit of being written by Le Carre. There is a difference between plot twists and plot density. There are details heaped upon details in a "pay attention or leave" gambit. Having prior knowledge of middle east affairs...like say...the bombing of Beirut...is a plus!
The plot is essentially straightforward, joy is in the details, the offhand asides and assumptions that are at once glaring and always unspoken. "Syriana" is nothing less than a wake-up call to the United States: oil is a liability that will make us do things that would make a crack-whore blush. An example, cited in "Jarhead" not this movie, would be our defending the oil fields, not the museums and civilians during the invasion.
"Syriana" is sophisticated, cynical, and post-modern in approach and execution. It is as ambigious in its morality as movies used to be way back in the seventies when we finally lifted our heads out of the trough long enough to look around and ask the question, "My God, what have we done?" If flag waving and SUV driving are anathema to you but you care about things further away than your retirement or the PS3 you must see "Syriana".