Feature

Big Men

Greed trumps hope when a poor country strikes oil.

Directed by Rachel Boynton(Not rated)

****

“If you want to know how the world works, you need to see Big Men,” said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. A “compassionate but unstinting” documentary made by “one of the world’s most intrepid filmmakers,” it provides an anatomy of a Third World oil deal unfolding in real time, and “the question of who the heroes and villains may be is left up to you.” When a vast oil field was discovered off the coast of Ghana in 2007, director Rachel Boynton was “perfectly positioned” to track the story as it happened, said Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. She trailed a Texas oil executive hoping to cash in on a big gamble by schmoozing with Ghanaian leaders. She got inside the boardroom of the private equity firm he answers to. She even infiltrated a camp of gun-wielding militants in neighboring Nigeria. Big Men winds up being “as remarkable for its refusal to judge” as for its insider access, said Jeannette Catsoulis in The New York Times. Look elsewhere for “a standard fat-cat shaming”; this film makes “universal self--interest” the devil in every transaction.

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