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'Big Men' an excellent look at oil capitalism in West Africa

Rachel Boynton's 'Big Men' offers an incisive look at how oil's enormous wealth subverts the morality of individuals, corporations and even countries.

March 26, 2014|By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
  • A scene from the documentary "Big Men."
A scene from the documentary "Big Men." (Jonathan Furmanski )

The documentary gods are smiling on us this week. One of the real knockout docs of 2013 is back in town. That would be "Big Men," an astonishing look inside the world of oil capitalism in the West African nations of Ghana and Nigeria. The film took director Rachel Boynton seven years to make and was worth every minute.

Boynton's last film was the excellent "Our Brand Is Crisis," and she specializes in the kind of insider access filmmakers only dream about. In this compelling doc, she offers an incisive look at how the enormous wealth oil creates subverts the morality of individuals, corporations, even entire countries. The result is not only a blistering examination of the inner workings of international capitalism but a poignant look at the vagaries of human nature as well. Starting Friday at Sundance Sunset Cinema, West Hollywood.

kenneth.turan@latimes.com

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