Q: Talk about Syriana?
Matt: If you saw Traffic, it’s written by Steve Gaghan who wrote Traffic. And Gaghan is directing. George and Steven Soderbergh are producing it. Structurally, it’s really similar to Traffic in that it’s four or five different storylines converging around one topic, but in this case the topic is oil instead of drugs. So it’s structurally similar to Traffic and it’s a big directing job for Steve Gaghan. Hopefully, so far, so good.
George: Yeah, it’s going great and Jeffrey Wright’s in it. It’s a great cast and it’s about corruption. It deals with oil in some of the same ways that Traffic dealt with the war on drugs. So if we don’t screw it up, it’s a really interesting premise and a really interesting movie. We’ll see. We’ve got our fingers crossed.
Matt: But we could screw it up.
George: Oh, we’re very good at screwing things up.
About halfway through Steven Soderbergh’s terrific but sure to be misunderstood Ocean’s Twelve, I realized that the real con isn’t on some wealthy mark for the dozen central characters but on the fans of the original who expect more of same glitzy, unchallenging fare. Instead, the sequel is a pie in the face of conventional heist flicks and something more in tune with what audiences of 60’s and 70’s European cinema would have expected. It’s a raw, aggressively shot and edited film whose only relation to mainstream Hollywood is the plethora of above-the-title names and the marketing pull of Warner Bros.
It’s a wonderfully experimental and entertaining picture, one whose risks will alienate some of the less savvy viewers but one that will ultimately be considered a more important addition to the filmography of those involved and a film that not only eclipses the original but redefines what a sequel can and should be.