Friday, July 07, 2006
Syriana (Stephen Gaghan, 2005) 
Really just Traffic except oil has replaced drugs. Gaghan, while he may be a credible screenwriter, doesn’t do much as a director. The aesthetic style of this film is so close to Soderbergh’s style in Traffic that it borders on ripping that film off. The story is so complex and interwoven that even the characters in the film don’t have a complete picture of what is going on, let alone the viewer. That’s part of the point of the script, but still, trying to decipher the details of the story becomes the main focus of the film. I can say that it took me out of focusing on the visual aspects of the film. It ends up being a film where the story overtakes the film; by film I mean all the story and visual aspects that define film. The script does make some solid political points, and truly has some depth of knowledge about the situation in the Middle East, so it redeems itself for that. But there’s nothing striking in anything here that makes me think that one of the best films of 2005.