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A complex film starring and produced by George Clooney.
George Clooney plays an old, fat, burned-out CIA agent in the Middle East. His story is intertwined with that of a worker in Saudi Arabia who gets mixed up in terrorism, that of a prosperous arms dealer who has a nervous breakdown and changes his life when someone sabotages his swimming pool with deadly consequences, and that of the creation of an oil pipeline. They start separately, but all converge...
This film was Based Very Loosely on a book written by a CIA agent -- so loosely that it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. It was popular with at least some critics, but it bombed in the box office.
- Bilingual Bonus: There's a lot of dialogue in Arabic, none of it is subtitled.
- Cain and Abel: The two Saudi princes, the younger of which ends up taking over with the help of an American missile strike.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Many of them.
- Dyeing for Your Art: George Clooney put on a lot of weight (which later contributed to a severe spinal injury sustained during a stunt) and also shaved some of his hairline for this movie. That Oscar was well-deserved.
- Downer Ending
- Hijacked by Jesus: Islam - The idea that man was made in God's image, as mentioned by the teenagers, is strictly Biblical. The video will mentions "ashes to ashes", which is barely Biblical - it's the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
- Hyperlink Story: Roger Ebert used this film in describing the Trope Namer.
- Internal Reformist: Prince Nasier (the elder of the Princes) wants to be this, and he believes that his father will name him to be the next King so that he can have a chance to improve that state of his country and people. When his father bows to the wishes of the Americans and oil execs and names the younger Prince to be their puppet, Nasier tries to go outside the system.
- Kicked Upstairs: The original plan for what to do with Bob.
- Kudzu Plot
- Loads and Loads of Characters: and the original cut was to have even more.
- Mind Screw: though it has less to do with symbolism or odd twists so much as having so many storylines that you'll lose track of them.
- No Kill Like Overkill: The missile strike at the end leaves a smoking hole where there once stood a silver SUV.
- Unflinching Walk: Bob does this while a car blows up in the background.
- Viewers Are Geniuses
- What Might Have Been: Harrison Ford turned down the role of Bob Barnes (He later said it was one of the only career decisions he's ever regretted) and Matt Damon's part was written with Christian Bale in mind.