David Ehrenstein wrote:Required viewing.
... for anyone who is completely ignorant of the nature of the oil business. Otherwise, for anyone who has acquired a basic knowledge of how oil is delivered to the North American consumer (or a great many other products, for that matter), it simply presents an overview of surface realities. As stated...
David Ehrenstein wrote:... this film is full of basic information about the situation in the middle east...
... but it doesn't supply anything beyond the basics. It's good filmmaking, and presents this basic information in an engaging fashion, but it certainly doesn't explore the oil business in any new depth or in any complex manner (other than its fractured narrative, which I agree is fairly easy to follow).
I enjoyed the film as an piece of entertainment with political motivations, but it certainly didn't offer me anything new in terms of information. I'm not sure I would call it required viewing to most of my friends who understand the oil business. Perhaps I would recommend it to a few friends who don't understand the realities of big business in the global marketplace.
The one aspect that really bothered me was the family subplots. At least when Traffic
presented family problems they had a great deal to do with the topic at hand (drugs and political boundaries). The family stuff in Syriana
feels tacked on in order to provide back-story and motivation, but it's rather contrived and unnecessary for the topic at hand. If you are going to make a film about the oil business, stick to the details of the oil business instead of showing how all the people involved have to deal with failed-father relationships.