Big Men, the new documentary produced and directed by Rachel Boynton (Our Brand Is Crisis) gives us an unprecedented backstage pass to the first commercial oil find in the West African country of Ghana. Follow along as Dallas based oil-exploration firm Kosmos Energy (backed by The Blackstone Group) discovers more than 2 billion barrels of sweet crude oil in Jubilee Field. Everyone has dollar signs in their eyes, including CEO Jim Musselman-a real-life Daniel Plainview- and the African Presidents and kings hoping to flourish.
You’d think that a find like this would be great news for a struggling, third-world country, but Boynton shows us the complexities and greed involved as she juxtaposes the situation in Ghana with the happenings in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, where oil was discovered more than 50 years ago. As one B.I.G Man said, “Mo Money Mo Problems” and the discovery of liquid gold hasn’t necessarily equated to prosperous times for the people of the region.
When there’s oil and hundreds of millions/billions of dollars at stake there’s corruption, and Boynton wades through African swamps and New York City board meetings to give us the lowdown and show us the effects. This fascinating, behind-the-scenes look into the oil game is frustrating, and it’s difficult (yet unsurprising) to see the public’s well-being tossed to the curb in the favor of corporate interest.
4 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
Big Men opens today in Houston at Sundance Cinemas and runs until June 12th.
Check out the trailer:
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