Director: Stephen Gaghan
Year Released: 2005
Close look at the behind-the-scenes corruption taking place in the international bid for oil, covering it using multiple personas: the CIA agent (George Clooney, no better or worse than he's been in anything else), the energy analyst (Matt Damon), the lawyer investigating illegal business practices (Jeffrey Wright) as well as the Arabs, from rich to poor. Like Gaghan's script for Traffic, details are secondary to mood, and the movie plays out like a series of filmed newspaper clippings pertaining to different aspects of the same topic - afterwards, it doesn't really care if you understand each character's involvement or how things turn out the way they do, but it does want to instill a sense of paranoia in you, and more importantly, it wants to raise your liberal ire (like, "so that's why they become suicide bombers!"). Further, the slicing and dicing of the narratives neither grants much time with each character nor works in favor of the momentum of the picture; I found Clooney's story to be the most fascinating, but he's only a fraction of the movie - the entire thing could have feasibly been about him alone (and been better off).