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Movie Review: Syriana

I saw Syriana last week, actually, but even the current event based film doesn’t lose its “relevance” after a week.

Syriana is a complex movie, cut in the mold of Traffic, with multiple story lines that come together, somewhat loosely, at the end. I pride myself as being up on current events, which includes learning political and economic lingo, but the rapid pace of the film made all political and economic references hard to follow. There are dozens of characters to follow and they all seem to have different agendas.

That being said, the film was interesting, with a caveat; it’s a political film and therefore it demands to be read critically (more so than, say, 13 Going on 30, which in my view, was a better film). In essence, this is the film’s message: Both the U.S. government, corporate executives in the oil industry, and the Middle Eastern political elite (except for a few) have a vested interest in keeping the Middle East under-developed and maintaining Western dependence on oil. The consequences are that (a) on a moral level, people do mean things to each other in the name of maintaining the system, (b) young Middle Eastern men become dissatisfied with the status quo and are more susceptible to joining religious based terrorist groups, and (c) on an international level, Middle Eastern countries will remain under-developed so long as the system is in place. Keep in mind that the actions of a few individuals who disagree with how things are run will come to nothing, as the governments and the corporations have more resources to snuff out any dissent.

For more information, see:

Reviews of Syriana (Rotten Tomatoes give it 73% and the critics read by Movies.com give it an A-).

Frontline interview with Robert Baer, the inspiration for the CIA operative played by George Clooney (“Bob Barnes”), and some books by Baer.

Buy “13 Going on 30″ on DVD.

Waterglass is 75% full (for “Syriana.” For “13 Going on 30,” it’s 95%).

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