Syriana is a hilarious movie that is worth watching but never resolves its problems. It is coated with heavy political undertones that cannot escape the cautious look of a curious viewer. The politics are underlined and epitomized in the never-ending Middle-East oil-fuelled wars. The movie does justice to the viewer by carefully intertwining the pieces to enable them to analyze the forces that sustain modern wars objectively.
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Syriana undertakes to bring into perspective the underlying political and economic dynamics that determine the world oil prices and how they make the proprietors of oil companies rich. The movie enlightens viewers on how the government’s involvement can shape the demand and supply of oil and oil products. Syriana downplays the input of the media in the determination of the demand and supply of oil and oil products.
One of the casts, Bob Barnes, a media personality, is not talked about so much. However, reference is made on his modes of operation and his superior skills, which are albeit outdated. The movie bears semblance to any other spy movies. Bob is portrayed as furthering both media and business interests but is otherwise seen to be in thrall to them. Interestingly, Bob becomes the last to know the undertakings in the oil fraternity. The cast is used symbolically in the movie as he is strategically used to spell out the interests of the government of the United States in the Middle East. He is supposed to know all activities in the oil industry, but even with all the intelligence information at his disposal, he is not able to create a clear picture of whatever is happening.
He is a middle-aged American citizen who deserves and does not deserve working in a government agency. On the flip side, he deserves to work for a government agency because he is a taxpayer whose resources are pumped into wars and counter-terrorism activities that the American government wages in the Middle East as they look for prospective investment destinations (Gaghan et al., 2003). Barnes has a wife he seems not to know much about. The wife is so cynical and harbors a feeling that Bob is a liar. Moreover, she thinks Bob is a stall in her career. When questions are raised about the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Middle East, Bob finds himself in the line of fire as he cannot deny his role. All the discontent people raise about the government’s involvement abroad are directed at him. He is a besieged man with nowhere to go and with a family to feed.
Jeffrey Wright, an attorney, is an African American who desires to stay on message and is therefore incapable of voicing concern against corporate greed because their hands are tied. For questionable and dubious reasons, he marvels at overseeing the merger of big companies whose gross domestic products equal that of many countries. He has made it a routine to collect his alcoholic father after overseeing ‘shoddy’ business deals. These companies envisage doing business in the Middle East, and Wright is determined to stop at nothing but make the government oversight body happy. The government and the proprietors of these companies spend much of their time in CNN trashing the deals but gather around campfires at night, deliberating their business prospects in the Middle East. Is the government, therefore, really in a position to regulate its seducer?
Tensions rise in Iran when it is understood that Bob was trying to engineer the death of a Sheik, who was seen as a bad man. Bob, who is oblivious of the development, however, thinks that his life is moving as planned. He has had a tumultuous life and bravely soldiers on but certainly realizes things are not working out as they should.
Bryan Woodman is a consultant with a French firm. He is one of the many actors in Syriana who are mysterious and difficult to declare innocent or guilty. When he is coaxed into attending Sheik’s party at Marbella, he comes along with his family into a resort where his son dies after being electrocuted. It is, therefore, evident that one has to pay the price to be included in any oil deal in the Middle East. Woodman subsequently gets a lucrative deal courtesy of the sheik Bob had been sent to kill.
Bob is caught between a rock and a hard place of trying to do what is right and executing a government directive. John Hurt, Bob’s confidant, advises him to get clearance from Hezbollah to enable him to do his task. The Sheik’s other son warms up to the Americans as the other looks for avenues of selling oil rights. America schemes the death of the older Sheik heir apparent. Bob is under instruction to kill the person he is in possession of his picture. As the merger is done, Bob is dismissed. Syriana portrays Bob as a man who is confused about finishing what he had earnestly begun. The movie reveals the underground role of the US in Middle-East oil dealings.
Gaghan, S (Director), et al. (2005). Syriana [motion picture]. United States: Warner Bros.