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LAist Watches: Syriana

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So, when you go see Syriana (and, really, just go. It's smart and complex and detailed and worth at least a great conversation with your movie date in the car afterwards) you should try and bring Stephen Gaghan with you. You'll have questions. Thankfully, Arianna Huffington hasn't lost our email address yet so we got to spend some quality time with the writer/director after the flick last night and hear his interesting but wordy explanations about the film and the process of making it.

The film is complicated and overwhelming by design. As Gaghan tried to hammer home in every answer to every question, these are not simple issues with simple people that can be brushed with the broad strokes of "good" and "evil" or of "corruption" and "power". The plays for energy and the strife in the Middle East are so big that when you read about them in the paper, it feels like too much. That we felt like we didn't really understand why anything happened in the film only the context with which they did is OK. That's kind of the point.

The other important piece of the puzzle is that everyone involved in these major issues are human. That underneath all the ideologically motivated speech and conviction are human motivations of self-interest and opportunism. Gaghan is wondering aloud with each of the players in his tale "What if no one sees the whole picture in the Middle East?" What if everyone thinks they know everything or at least know enough and really are only seeing a small part of what is going on?

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Sobering.