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"In the CIA, as elsewhere in the federal government, you’re innocent until you’re investigated." That line, from former CIA operative Robert Baer’s source material memoir "See No Evil," sums up the ambiguous conduct of characters in writer/director Stephen Gaghan’s worldly movie about the corruption and greed underlying the geopolitical system’s myopic focus on oil. The title takes its name from a think-tank term for a reconfigured Middle East in the same way that "Chinatown" represented a kind of corrupt limbo. Gaghan zooms in and out of four intertwined stories with breathtaking precision toward a gut-wrenching denouement. It’s an interactive political thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat attempting to gauge every opposing character’s clandestine motives and their kinship to real life Texas oilmen, Gulf emirs, Islamic terrorists and White House wonks. Special features include English, French and Spanish subtitles, a George Clooney interview featurette, three deleted scenes, an ecology featurette, and the film’s theatrical trailer. Aspect ratio is 2.35:1, with sound quality processed in Dolby Digital 5.1. (Movie – Four Stars, DVD features – Two Stars) Rated R, 128 mins. (Warner Brothers)

July 1, 2006 in Drama, Suspense Thriller | Permalink