Friday, June 19, 2009
After seeing 'Syriana,' I felt weary of the plot, muddled by it, but certain that I knew that I hadn't missed anything of vital importance. The thing about this story is that it is more complicated than confusing. It's difficult to keep track of the characters and the multiple plots, but none of them, when examined at close range, are difficult to take in. 'Syriana,' directed by Stephen Gaghan, is like a stepping in a time machine and visiting the lives of all these people involved in the oil business. We aren't sure what they're doing, but we're experiencing what this life is like. And that's essentially what 'Syriana' is. It's an experience, not a story. The multi-layered plot has three central characters who stand out among an ensemble cast. Those three are Bob Barnes, played by George Clooney. He's a CIA officer stationed in the middle east. Then there's Matt Damon's character, Bryan Woodward, an energy analyst stationed in Switzerland with his family. He faces the crisis of devotion to his family or his work. One of them's going to be singled out. Then there's Bennett Holiday (Jeffery Wright) an attorney investigating moves by major oil companies, Connex, and Killen. Other cast members include the always competent Chris Cooper, and William Hurt, Christopher Plummer, and Tim Blake Nelson. I've only seen 'Syriana' once. It deserves to be seen twice, but I'm not sure if I want to-at least for now. There are two major explosions in the movie: one at the beginning and one at the end. In-between them is a twisted look at the oil business. It may confuse you, but at the very least it will give you an idea of what international oil work is really like.