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The film's central story follows a small group of American explorers at Dallas-based oil company Kosmos Energy. Between 2007 and 2011, with unprecedented, independent access, Big Men's two-person crew filmed inside the oil company as Kosmos and its partners discovered and developed the first commercial oil field in Ghana's history. Simultaneously the crew filmed in the swamps of Nigeria's Niger Delta, following the exploits of a militant gang to reveal another side of the economy of oil: people trying to profit in any way possible, because they've given up on waiting for the money to trickle down. So what happens when a group of hungry people discover a massive and exquisitely rare pot of gold in one of the poorest places on earth? Written by
'Money, Power, Greed and Oil' is quite a clever documentary. In a world full of potential villains it doesn't paint any of the people it features in such a light: instead it asks two questions: firstly, what is the proper return on venture capital, and secondly, how can Ghana, a country with recently discovered oil reserves, avoid the fate of Nigeria, where oil has proved a curse, its riches taken by a minority willing to ruin the country in order to obtain them? The film can almost convince you that everyone is genuinely trying to do their best for the country; yet in the conclusion, it seems that all those involved in the business, Americans and Ghanaians alike, have struck it rich, too rich one fears. On one hand, director Rachel Boynton could have made a film about casino capitalism. Instead, she's made a film that's insightful, but leaves the politics to the viewer. I'd like to know the views of an ordinary but educated Ghanaian on the situation; but this is still an interesting film.
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