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American oil companies Connex and smaller Killen are undergoing a merger, the new company named Connex-Killen. The move is in response to Connex losing a number of oil fields in the Persian Gulf region as Prince Nasir Al-Subaai, his country's foreign minister, and the oldest son of the Emir and thus the heir apparent to the throne, signed a contract with the Chinese instead. As Killen somehow managed to get the contract for the oil fields in Kazahkstan, the merger would give Connex-Killen additional control of the industry in the Middle East. Connex's retained law firm, headed by Dean Whiting, assigns Bennett Holiday to demonstrate to the US Department of Justice that due diligence has been done to allow the merger to proceed i.e. that the merger would not break any antitrust regulations. The US government is unhappy with Prince Nasir's decision to award the contract to the Chinese, and in combination with issues around illegal weapons, the CIA assigns field agent Bob Barnes, who has ...Written by
Roger Ebert's theory about the film's Byzantine oil-related plotlines was that the U.S. and China had a secret deal to buy up and ship oil from Kazakhstan without actually drilling for any of it, and that the film's merger was a paper deal to provide legal cover for these actions. See more »
When the team enters the Hezbollah controlled neighborhood by car, shots from inside the car, through the windshield, show another team shooting the scene on the left side of the road. See more »
Initially I wanted to compare it with Traffic, same style and interwoven story lines, but the film itself stopped me from doing so. Thank you. Comparing films can so difficult, you know, the old apples v. oranges thing. This film stands on its own without the comparison or the similarities to Traffic.
Just before I went to the movie theatre, I saw an interview with Steve Gaghan the director on the Charlie Rose Show, and probably this helped me to fit most of the pieces together. The scene where Bob (Clooney) is taken to visit Hezbollah leaders, is based on the exact experience the director had when researching the story. He said that most of the film was based on his or Bob's actual experiences.
So what do we have....Oil, big oil, oil executives, oil analysts, oil geography, oil politics, big time oil power brokers, CIA, Islamic terrorists, Middle East culture....It's all there. And Steve Gaghan does a very good job in bringing it all together. His directorial debut. Very good acting all round, maybe the oldest boy and his mother Amanda Peet stand out.
I walked out of the theatre in an emotional daze, if that's possible. I will see this film again.
My coda.... What a rotten, ugly barrel of oil.
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