Tue 6 June 2006 // 20:00 *

(Stephen Gaghan / USA / 2006 / 35mm / 126 mins / Cert 15)

Oil and power and money and power and oil and power and money. Is this really the shape of the contemporary American political landscape? Award winning writer-turned-screenwriter Stephen Gaghan (Traffic) would seem to think so. Making a name for himself as this generation's Alan Pakula, Gaghan's adaptation of Robert Baer's experiences in the CIA earns its wings as political thriller by being both thrilling and genuinely political. The film's multiple storylines weave together to illuminate the human consequences of the fierce pursuit of wealth and power, covering the complexities of the vast range of international relations in a way that doesn’t alienate or confuse the viewer. Syriana is part of a new breed of Hollywood film which, despite featuring eye-candy Hollywood talent (Clooney, Damon) manages to respect the intelligence of the audience and reflect a responsibility to raise political awareness for mainstream audiences.