Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Deal (2005) [R] **

In the near future, the U.S. and its allies are waging war against the Confederation of Arab States (CAS). An oil embargo makes it illegal for U.S. oil companies to buy CAS oil, because the purchases would help CAS fund the war. The U.S. is starved for oil; there are gasoline lines and the economy is sinking into a depression. Then a business associate of investment banker Tom Hansen (Christian Slater) is murdered, and the following day Hansen is offered an opportunity to put together a $20 billion deal in which a U.S. oil company would buy a Russian oil company with proven reserves in Kazakhstan. While Hansen is investigating the Russian oil company, he uncovers some disturbing facts which cause him to doubt the existence of oil. Is this actually an illegal deal to allow the U.S. to import embargoed oil? Is Hansen's life and that of his girlfriend Abbey (Selma Blair) in danger? Was his associate murdered because he threatened to expose the deal?

While the film's concept is good, there are several holes in the plot. Also, Hansen is far too trusting and naive; it takes him much too long to figure out that he was picked to investigate the Russian oil company specifically because of his ignorance of the industry and the global region. And, finally, there isn't a lot of chemistry between Slater and Blair, so we really don't become emotionally invested in them or their story. Nevertheless, if you enjoyed political thrillers like The International, Lord of War, Sentinel, Shooter, State of Play or Syriana, you might enjoy The Deal. As a note, this could be a prophetic film. There is a heightened risk that Israel and the U.S. might attack Iran in order to destroy its capacity to produce nuclear reactor fuel, fuel which could also be used to build nuclear weapons. If this happens, Iran would likely retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz, through which travel supertankers carrying 20% of global oil supplies. The result might be the same as that depicted in this film. 

Labels:  crime, drama, thriller  
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 46/100    
Tomatometer (critics=21, viewers=21) 

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