Who's in It:
George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet, Jeffrey Wright, Tim Blake Nelson, Christopher Plummer, Chris Cooper, William Hurt, Mazhar Munir
The Basics: The oil industry and terrorism and American imperialism make for a seriously heavy bummer. Happy holidays, everybody!
What's the Deal? This multiple-plot mosaic is about corruption in the oil industry, right-wing think-tanks that want to squeeze the Middle East into an America-friendly mold, CIA operatives betrayed by their own country, the nurturing of fundamentalist Muslim suicide bombers and a young energy analyst and family man cashing in on the death of his own child. And it feels like someone just dropped a 100-gallon barrel of oil in your lap.
George Clooney = Not Dick Cheney's Buddy: Producer Clooney is, in his own words, an "old-time liberal," and this movie reflects the darkest possible vision of a Republican world gone unchecked. Not that it reads like fantasy. If anything it feels like a documentary.
What's Good About It: Clooney's sad-eyed CIA man and Damon's conflicted sellout and Peet's grieving mother. I still get the shakes and dry heaves when I think about the vomitous comedy Whipped that she starred in years ago. It ruined her for me until just now.
Lighten Up, Man: Hey, Traffic guy Stephen Gaghan, we get that you're very serious and all, but other than reminding us that the world's a corrupt evil mess and that it's out of the hands of powerless citizens and that it's run by a bunch of rich white men who are all in bed together, what's the point of all this?
Award It Should Win: Is there a Feel-Bad Movie award? Is that a category of Oscar yet? MTV Movie Award maybe?