Sunday, December 11, 2005

Syriana

Let me tell you before. This is not a movie everyone will like. It is very narrative in nature, with the director making it seem at times that the camera is actually eavesdropping. Many times in the movie you will feel that the actors are actually real people unaware that there is a camera watching over them The movie has been brilliantly made by Stephen Gaghan whose past exploits include Traffic. The movie is about the lives of five different people, who all go about their lives in different sub plots. In the end the director still does not show how these plots match up, but does show to the watcher, that they lead to the same consequences. The director makes a bold political drama, with the innuendo of an oil company merger. George Clooney plays the role of a CIA operative, something he has done all his life. Suddenly he realizes that was he has done is nothing but play into the hands of his bosses. Matt Damon plays an energy expert who looses his son to a tragedy and becomes an economic advisor to the elder prince in the gulf. The elder prince is more of a reformist compared to his ailing father the king, and wants the country to not obey foreign powers, especially the Americans. On the other hand, the younger prince wants to play exactly like his father, and allow American oil companies to drill holes in their land. So he plays well into the hands of the oil industry heads and will allow anything that will get him and maybe his country some profits. Jeffery Wright plays a lawyer in a firm in the US and has been given the job of completing the merger of two oil companies by any means necessary, even though it may be wrong in the long run. He is reluctant at first, but when he sees what people will do to get what they want he looses his inhibitions as well. Then there is the Pakistani boy who works in an oil rig in the gulf. However, he looses his job due to the merger and is falls prey to a cleric who is on the look out for such boys. The movie unfolds brilliantly. It shows, the working of the people in Washington, in the high corporate offices, to field workers and workers on the rig. It is brilliant and when it comes out on DVD I am buying it. It is a bold movie and has shown pretty much the current state of affairs between the middle east the rest of the world, most notably the US.

SPOILER ALERT ( Read on at own risk )

I felt I should analyze the movie. The movie starts off with a deal that goes bad between George Clooney, a CIA operative and the Iranians. He is made to believe that he is actually selling it to the Iranians but he lands up selling to the Arabs. When he goes home, he gets the brunt of the whole thing. Matt Damn plays an energy consultant, who has been invited to Spain to attend a royal party. However, he looses his son there to an accident and the elder prince offers him a position as his economic advisor after he is impressed by his ideas. The elder prince and the younger prince are at odds with each other. The younger prince is shown being manipulated by the west oil leaders to sell his oil to the Americans. There is a cheaper and more profitable venture, wherein the oil can be sent to Europe of Asia and more profits can be made. But the Americans don’t want it to happen, rather the American oil tycoons. The tycoons are making a huge merger. The success of the merger will depend on the approval of the US dept of state. However, they will not approve of it unless many American companies go broke. Thus the deal is rigged such that the Chinese get the oil deal to a small part in the gulf, Kazakhstan, so that the US state is worried and allows that merger. The company formed will then own almost all of the gulf, with the owner getting an annual GDP greater that that of Pakistan or Albania. To broker this merger, the companies also higher a lawyer. The lawyer is idealistic at first, but then when he sees the back doings of all the people involved he looses his inhibitions. Eventually the movie unfolds showing how the tycoons will use any tactics necessary to get what they want. Christopher Plummer plays one such oil tycoon, who manipulates the young prince. He wants to gain so much from the merger that he even manipulates the CIA into giving Clooney the bungling jobs so that Clooney gets all the bad credit. He makes the CIA go and eavesdrop on the elder prince, and makes the Arab intelligence believe that he is actually there to assassinate the prince. Once he is deported back to the US, the people believe that the elder prince is safe from an assassination, giving the true assassins the chance to make tier move. Eventually George Clooney realizes this and tries to make the save but looses in the end. In all this is the story of a young Pakistani muslim lad who is working happily on an oil rig in the gulf. Due to the merger he looses his job. His inability to find work makes him fall prey to the teachings of a charismatic cleric. The cleric only shows him and puts on him the ideas he thinks is right, and impresses upon him that he must destroy the merger. Thus on the day of the merger, he carries out a suicide attack on the first ship drilling oil in the seas. The transformation from a hard working man to a religious fanatic has been beautifully shown by the director. It makes one winder how easy it is to change a persons thinking, depending on the circumstances. Here is the story of a lad, who wants to get his mother there and stay together as a family in the start. In the end he has nothing on his mind but revenge for loosing his job, thanks to the cleric. In the end what comes out is that the merger is made, but at the cost of making a lot of enemies. The heads of the companies will reap the benefits but the governments will be forced to curb the terrorism it will result in. The people of America will get all the oil they will need, but the people who actually drill for it have no job security. Come another merger, and more jobs will be lost. Finally the policy making in the company will continue to be independent of the work force they have on the field. If you have power, you will continue to abuse it.

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