Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Byzantine

If you're looking for fast car chases, sex and snappy one-liners, you shouldn't be looking here. If you want to see corporate greed and political corruption with no possible happy ending, then this one is for you.


Syriana


George Clooney directed and acted in this searing, very pointed political intrigue piece; kudos George, you kick politically incorrect butt.

Syriana takes you through a thought-provoking, in-your-face tour of the bizarre love triangle between he United States, the Middle East and big oil industry; how the deals that are made have less to do with economics and governmental policy and more to do with personal power and exploitation of the poor to achieve such. While Syriana is based on a non-fiction book, it makes big claims to be purely fictional itself. It will not take much immagination for you to draw parallels between story characters and real-life entities.

You're going to be mad at the end.

Hold on tight because this one starts off with a bang and just becomes progressively more tense. From Houston to Saudi to Geneva the layers of activites and story lines are dense, you almost need a map to keep up with the Byzantine relationships. The CIA, big Houston oil, the Emir of Saudi Arabia (implied), Pakistani oil workers and an independent energy analyst are the pieces on the gameboard. The game is control the oil. Pawns and innocent bystanders are moved and removed as the King and Bishop conspire to checkmate themselves in this cyclic game where there are no winners.

Clooney, Matt Damon, Chirs Cooper and William Hurt are riveting, each giving their characters some subtle nuances that only seasoned actors can do. But you expect them to be good. A couple of surprising performances by some people I didn't know but will look out for in the future.


Alexandar Siddig


This eerily beautiful Sudanese man plays one of the Emir's two sons; he's the smart one who wants to take the oil profits to rebuild the infrastructure of his country and instill social reform. The other son just wants to spend like a shoe-whore in Nordstrom.

If looks could kill, Siddig would leave a path of destruction in his wake.


Mazhar Munir

Mazhar Munir plays one of the Pakistani oil workers who becomes involved with a fundamentalist religious group. He has such innocent and caring undertones in the beginning but you know exactly where his story will end. He progresses from one stage to the next like a pro.

The soundtrack to Syriana is rhythmic, primal beats with electronica - mezmerizing, I loved it. I was probably from some Middle Eastern country in a former life :)

9.5/10

12 Comments:

Blogger Ryan Charisma said...

Jim,

I loved this movie as well. I don't know if I could sit through it again. But I sure would like to know how all those arabs wore all that white and never got dirty or sweaty? How do they do that?

9:14 AM

 
Blogger Jim said...

Ryan, I was thinking the same thing. But I don't know, when I wear white I usually have coffee, ink and soy sauce stains on me within the first few hours :)

10:33 AM

 
Blogger john said...

Didn't Alexandar Siddig play Dr. Bashir on Star Trek DS9? I think maybe he did.
Anyway, I rented Kingdom of Heaven and Captain Blood this weekend. Kingdom of Heaven was OK I guess...
Captain Blood (with Erol Flynn) was fantastic! If you havent seen it, check it out!

12:27 PM

 
Blogger Jim said...

John, I think I remember reading that about Siddig! Ooo, havent seen either of those, I'll check Cpt. Blood at Blockbusters.

2:17 PM

 
Blogger steve'swhirlyworld said...

Great movie, but exhausting. I would not recommend it as a nice, date movie...I felt like I should have been taking notes or something.

7:19 PM

 
Blogger purpletwinkie said...

I have to see this movie!

Um and yes Alexander Siddig played Dr. Bashir on ST:DS9 (remember, I'm a dork and attend Star Trek conventions...Ssssh)

http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/series/DS9/cast/69061.html

7:54 PM

 
Blogger Jim said...

Definitely not the casual entertainment type, Steve, more the type to see when youre pissed off at W, the government or oil companies.

I totally felt like I needed a map to know what was going on with whom, I realize this is how things must be but sheesh!

10:17 PM

 
Blogger Jim said...

Now Scott you are not a dork, you just admire the creative element in science fiction (dork) as portrayed in Star Trek DS9 (super-dork). And as for the conventions, I hear its a great place to make new friends (dork-a-souras) :)

10:20 PM

 
Blogger steve'swhirlyworld said...

If I had to watch this movie every time I was "pissed off with W", I'd have it on play non-stop :)

12:51 AM

 
Blogger Jim said...

LOL, right Steve, good point. Not to mention everytime yo make a stop by the gas station :)

7:28 AM

 
Blogger sevensoft said...

that movie sounds really good. i'll have to rent it tonight!

5:17 PM

 
Blogger Jim said...

Enjoy 7, remember to get out your map of bizarre oil industry relationships so you can keep up :)

6:20 PM

 

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