Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Syriana. A review.

Before castigating America, people should note what a multi-faceted society it is. A look at the last few months is a staggering demonstration of film after film (and we're not talking about little known 'indie' ones) carrying a strong critical and anti-White House message. In succession, Jarhead, Good Night and Good Luck, Flight 93, Syriana and others are kickstarting a welcome new-era of politicised Hollywood. They may not be quite as easy to follow as American Pie, yet those grey-matter-friendly movies should put in their place those who think the U.S. is merely an equation of bible-belt, rednecks and trailer trash.

With the fanfare surrounding it, an amazing cast (George Clooney at his best) and its Oscar nominations, Syriana has a huge potential to preach beyond the converted. Stephen Gaghan's film is extremely intelligent and valuable, as it points out how each single one of our informed choices as ordinary citizens is likely to be connected to some appalling policy carried out by the Government-backed oil industry in that ticking time-bomb that is the Middle East. The movie isn't political propaganda as such, yet the sheer fact that it isn't fiction is enough to convey an extremely brave message, especially when you consider that we're talking about Hollywood. If anything, it makes you wonder how the creators managed to find any producers to back it.

Nonetheless, you can't help but think that after penning the bulk of Syriana, its masterminds sat down to a cup of tea and discussed how to make it as muddled as possible for the viewers. The plot can get so disjointed that even the most attentive person struggles to keep up which, frankly, is a real shame as there was no need for that. The idea of having a web of subplots that will come intertwined at the end is an intriguing and admirable one, yet not all of the stories on display in Syriana are as relevant or interesting as others. Its merciless realism, though, is enough to make it recommendable. Unless, that is, it's Final Destination 3 you're after...then you have to consider whether a 2-hour snooze is worth £5.

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