Some years back Stephen Gaghan proved his storytelling mettle by giving us the brilliant script for Traffic, helmed by the indomitable Steven Soderbergh. After the success and Oscar win of Traffic, he went into a worldwide travel hiatus researching the dark secrets and dealings of the oil industry. The result of that quest for the storyteller in Gaghan is the movie ‘Syriana’. This time though he got the likes of George Clooney and Jeff Skoll (ex-eBay executive turned venture capitalist interested in captivating movies) to back that script and assemble an ensemble cast to dance to the tunes of his director’s call. Yep he decided to direct it himself and let Soderbergh take the back seat as executive director.
And what a brilliant movie he’s given us. The one thing that is engrossing about the movie is that, like Traffic, he’s managed to tell us simultaneous stories taking part in parts of the world as varied as Texas to Geneva to the Persian Gulf. And the beauty is that, unlike most movies with multiple storylines which connects in the end, here the connection is made in the end without the actors or stories intersecting into each other at the climax of the movie. Here in the end, we do get the deeper more holistic connection of the consequences of the actions of the different characters in play ranging from the Texas oilman to the Washington DC attorney to the derivatives trader to the CIA agent to the oil labourer in the Middle East. It’s subtly and beautifully captured and provides us with a firsthand glimpse of the phenomenon called ‘globalization’ at work and how ultimately it affects us all. Pretty scary, but that’s what the tagline on the poster says – “Everything is Connected”. Watch it and make your own connection.