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Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War I - documentary DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 5 stars
Featuring: Marty Callaghan, David Fromkin, Edward J. Erickson, David R. Woodard
Director: Marty Callaghan   Distributor: Inecom Entertainment
DVD release: 05 December 2006   Runtime: 112 min. (1 disc)
Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
DVD Features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 - English), Subtitles (English), Extended expert commentary, Trailers

Marty Callaghan's Blood and Oil strives to tell the story of the dawn of our modern trouble in the Middle East, the oil the world runs on, and the complex political mechanics that put the Middle East in the Gordian knot that now exists. No small task for sure. Callaghan does wind an interesting tale but seems to get off topic for much of the film. The Middle East during WWI is described in rough detail, with emphasis on the Ottoman Empire and its demise. This gets to be a little tedious, though I would have had more patience for it were it the thesis.

In the last half hour, Callaghan regains his footing to tell how the Ottoman Empire was carved up by the West without thought for the people of the region. The British and French used the treaty of Versailles to divide the territory up into the nations of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, arrangements that had been made in advance of the end of the war.

Callaghan is finally able to show how, as he puts it, "The seeds of discontent planted at the end of World War I have grown into a fearful harvest." Excellent material here helps promote understanding of the current situation in the Middle East, though perhaps a bit more time spent editing would have made it flow more smoothly.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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