From the direction of Stephen Gaghan, the screenwriter of Traffic.
Seeing the above line, we come to a theatre with a pre-occupied idea that what we’re about to see will resemble the aforementioned film, and when our expectation is met, the next question should be: how different is it?
Recently, a similar notion occured when The Constant Gardener was released, as the promotional campaign relied heavily on Fernando Meirelles’ previous directorial effort in City of God. The former film might share the now-familiar style of puzzling narrative structure as established by the latter, yet his new film still manages to excel on its own, thanks to the strong storyline and the superb turns of the cast.
So is the case of Syriana.
If Traffic takes on a story about several lives affected by drugs problems, then Gaghan’s latest film replaces the drug story with a story on how a merger of two giant oil companies in USA could affect the lives of people across the world, or at least, within USA to countries in Persian Gulf area. These people include the impressive cast of actors ranging from the likes of Amanda Peet to Jeffrey Wright, although the spotlight is strongly given to the pigged-out George Clooney, being groomed by many to receive an Oscar soon.
How Academy loves deglamorization of good looks, it is apparent enough, and Clooney might benefit from this, having gained Bridget Jones’ weight to give a convincing look as his profilic role of a hired killer. Yet, as cliche as it may sound, it takes Clooney more than his bulging flab to carry the role. His presence in both emotional and ruthless scenes is riveting enough to make us long for more, and the singular scene of his conversation with his distant son is enough to make it as “the moment” shown for his nomination clip.
Yet, being in the flood of equally talented cast, it is still hard to see how he should rise above the others, particularly with always-reliable Jeffrey Wright who lit up the screen with his dignified charisma in otherwise passable role as a clean-cut accountant trapped in the dirty and corrupted world of political issues.
Alas, being a poster boy in the film sparks with mind-challening thoughts that leave its audience beguiled in serious thoughts, Clooney does get an advantage of being noticed from the rest. Thus, the glory awaits.