Boy, were we wrong. Syriana deserves our top rating of 5 Red Flags — not as a movie, but as a compliance tool. A thoughtful reader set us straight. Our sincere thanks to Daniel, whose imaginative use of Syriana we heartily endorse.
Here’s what he told us:
Dear FCPA Blog,
In truth, the aspect of the movie I liked best is the original promotional trailer itself, of which I have shown a portion (after having received a license) at the start of anti-corruption compliance training to grab an audience’s attention (“for three points, name the movie; for five points, name three actors you’ll see; for fifteen points, recite the fifteen key words you’ll hear in the voice over” and I then stop the trailer at the 1.25” mark, after the oily Texas oilman’s rich [“NOT“] assertion “… Corruption is why we win!”).
I note that if Hollywood gave central casting to the FCPA in this 2005 movie, it surely is a sign of the importance of the issue. Of course, I make clear, as you have understood, that the movie is not reflective of the approach and experience today of most in the U.S. multinational business community – certainly, not of those in the company for which I work. Almost without fail, I am assured that the audience will then listen to the many legal and business imperatives for clear corporate policies and commitment to procedures on anti-corruption that follow.Thus, while conceding that “five” may be too high a ranking given the film’s dark and jaundiced take on corruption, I would award at least four red flags to a movie trailer that can accomplish this goal in less than 2 minutes. This is especially the case for an audience in the regulated pharmaceutical industry in which I practice, which today may suffer from “compliance fatigue” as a result of the virtually continuous training employees receive to address the many many different and evolving standards required to ensure that operations in a heavily regulated industry are conducted in a compliant manner.The “enthusiastic support” you may have read into my singling out the movie was more for the educational values of both the trailer and your terrific blog – of which I am a devoted and appreciative reader, than for the underlying message of George Clooney’s thriller.