Stephen Gaghan, 2005, USA, (126 mins)
George Clooney, Jeffrey Wright, Matt Damon
Oil is a dirty business. So concludes this multi-threaded thriller of corruption, family bonds and political assassination, spanning the US, Lebanon and Iran. Clooney is a seasoned CIA agent given sudden cause to question his orders, Damon is an oil analyst on the ascendant, and lawyer Wright seeks to iron out the chinks in a US oil company merger.
Similar to Traffic, which Gaghan scripted, this is a cinema of simultaneous information. Interlinked narratives range from US governmental plots for Iranian ‘liberation’ to Islamic extremism among the immigrant workforce in the oil fields. All this chopping and changing mean you never get much emotional investment in any character, but the film certainly packs a cerebral punch. Kate Taylor