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Everything is connected  

Year: 2005 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is expected to have certain elements which are subtitled, but it is not expected that the entire film will contain them. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Syriana

Director: Stephen Gaghan

Starring: Kayvan Novak, George Clooney, Amr Waked, Christopher Plummer

Stephen Gaghan’s (Traffic) ‘Syriana’ is a blistering tour de force in political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the global oil industry. There is not so much a plot to this film as a tangle of storylines glimpsing into the lives of many affected by such pursuit of power, from the possibly corrupt merger of two American oil films. Characters include a CIA agent (Clooney) who uncovers some disturbing truths behind missions which had seemed to have no goal, an idealistic Gulf prince, a corporate lawyer with a moral dilemma and a disillusioned Pakistani immigrant seeking work in Saudi Arabia but falling prey to radical Muslim recruitment. There’s no good and bad, just degrees of bad and while each play their own small part in the system, none realise the impact they have on the world at large.

Given that none of the actors have time to really establish their characters in this whistle-stop story, it is an incredible feat that they manage to put themselves across so convincingly, especially Hollywood’s most wanted and Oscar-worthy Clooney. The acting is nigh-on perfect from all the cast though, special treats being a cameo by William Hurt and Alexander Siddig as a frustrated Arab prince. Gaghan’s direction is tight and in what was a near impossible task to pull off such a complex and risky film he has really pulled it out the bag in magnificent style. This is a worthy follow up to his equally fantastic, Traffic and similar in its examination of a corrupt industry.

Granted its not a film that you can sit back and watch roll by; your full attention is required at all times as the faces multiply and the scenes fill with details to absorb. It is well worth the effort though and as expected is a film that will set your brain into overdrive and remain with you long after the credits have rolled.

Hannah Upton

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Autumn Term (35mm)