A good movie gives you a ticket to a secret world and Big Men delivers again and again, taking you into rooms you have no business entering. You’ll eavesdrop on meetings about oil deals worth billions of dollars and watch heavily armed militants preparing to strike. It’s a fast-paced tour through the high-powered world of African oil deals – a quest for money and power and influence that affects us all.
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?
Watch your back: it’s every company, government and man for himself and everyone wants to be BIG.
This is the official description from the film’s website or IMDb page.
“Bringing to life a netherworld of shifting agreements and shuffling allegiances, Big Men unfurls a complicated story teeming with masked militants, well-fed politicians, reassuring suits and the desperate poor. To the film’s major players, whether the development of Ghanaian oil will be a boon or a curse to the nation’s citizens seems irrelevant; when money is talking, those who have none also have no voice.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
“There are three categories of schemers in Big Men, Rachel Boynton’s illuminating documentary about the oil business in West Africa: businessmen, politicians and bandits. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to tell the types apart.” – Mark Jenkins, NPR
Watch the trailer here: