Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Movies: August 28 - September 3

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005): This documentary covers, as much as possible, the behind the scenes reality of what was going on at Enron as they produced record profits in a very short period of time and nearly as quickly went bankrupt in an incredible corporate scandal and a cloud of corruption. Interviewed for this film are several former Enron executives and there are videos from Enron meetings and speeches, as well as news coverage to bring the film together. It is an unbelievable account of greed and arrogance and the actions of the leadership was entirely shameful. The film, unsurprisingly, takes an aggressively anti-Enron stance and has something of an anti-corporate bias, but overall this is a worthy film about something that is seldom explored in any sort of depth.

Syriana (2005): I wanted so much to love this movie and to hold this up as the best film of the year. This sprawling film is directed by the man who wrote Traffic and there are similarities in the multiple storylines, but unlike traffic there is less of a cohesive feel about the politics of oil and power that Syriana presents. There is much to admire here, including the performances and the bold effort at storytelling taken by the filmmakers in tackling a serious political topic, but it doesn't seem to come together as a film, as a cohesive whole. Syriana is still worth watching, but it isn't as powerful and impressive as it is intended to be.

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