Backstabbing for Beginners

Iraq, grossly simplified

An idealistic UN staffer (an inert Theo James – Divergent) is sent to Baghdad just before the Iraq War to monitor the UN Oil for Food program, aimed at keeping the country’s populace from starving despite sanctions while reining in Saddam’s worst excesses. What he finds – surprise! – is widespread corruption and graft – even implicating his obscenity-spouting boss (an amusing Ben Kingsley). Maybe this accurately titled film is based on a true story, and granted that story is a messy one (allowing some degree of corruption for the greater good?), but that doesn’t excuse the messy storytelling. (108 min)