Big oil means big money. Very big money. And that fact unleashes corruption that stretches from Houston to Washington to the Mideast and ensnares industrialists, princes, spies, politicos, oilfield laborers and terrorists ... more »in a deadly, deceptive web of move and countermove. This lightning-paced, whip-smart action thriller grips your mind and nerves with an intensity that doesn't let go for an instant.DVD Features:
Duane S. (superpoet) from FORT WORTH, TX Reviewed on 2/25/2008...
This is a very good film , but hard to follow . It has a lot of government lingo and is very fast paced.
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Syriana is not for Everyone; Then for Who..?
RS Steube | 03/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I won't try to restate or expand upon previous reviews found here for Syriana. Many contributors have offered a better reviews of the content of Syriana than I could describe.
But I will point out that whether Syriana is for you or not, has more to do with the movie-goer, than the movie itself.
Consider: 1) Can you check your political prejudices at the front door? 2) Are you willing to attempt to follow four "chess games" simultaneously? 3) Have you the courage to feel really upset at the end?
If you can answer "YES" to all three questions, then Syriana may just be one of the most worthwhile movie releases of 2005.
If you answered "NO" to any of these points, you'd better pass on Syriana. "
Pay attention to the details
DL | Chula Vista, California United States | 07/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I would say this plot offers up more suspense and intriguing details than any Tom Clancy movie I've ever seen. It wasn't until about an hour into the story that things finally started to make sense. But, from that point on, I was hanging onto every word and piecing together every detail.
The trick to understanding this movie before it's over is to remember the names. Once you get to the point when you know who's who, everything else unfolds from there.
Syriana does a profound job of putting you into the minds of the impressionable and disheartened middle eastern youth who are easily recruited into the terrorist agenda. In fact, if you follow this plot closely, you'll realize that the stinger missile that G. Clooney "loses" at the beginning of the movie actually ends up being used to commit an act of vengeance on his behalf.
After all, after becoming cognisant of the circumstances surrounding the investigation of his life's "work", he is forced to shed his "blind" loyalty to his employer, the US government.
Unfortunately, the victims of terrorist suicide bombings aren't always oil executives and arab beneficiaries of oil contract kick-backs. However, as I stated before, it becomes easier to see that the war on terror isn't as clear as the good guy vs. the bad guy, when looking at it from the perspective offered by this movie.
So, what's going on?
Matt Damon is a financial advisor to Prince Nassir. Prince Nassir's family just approved a deal with the chinese to come in and set up shop as oil drillers, as the chinese offered the highest bid.
However, the US wants to cut the chinese out of the picture, so that the newly merged connex and the smaller oil company can do their thing in place of the chinese.
So, now we're at that scene when the old guy is talking to Prince Nassir's younger brother on the yacht. What you have to infer is that the "wish" that Nassir's younger brother wants the "cat's paw" to grant is to have his older brother, Prince Nassir, assassinated. In return for the favor, the US will get the oil contract instead of the chinese.
That's when the CIA have George Clooney arrange for Prince Nassir to be assassinated. However, you know that doesn't work out. You might recall the torture scene. The torturer has threatened to reveal the CIA's assassination attempt to the media.
That's why Clooney threatened the old man in the cafe. He knows that the old man is setting him up to be the fall guy for any negative backlash resulting from the exposure of the failed assassination attempt.
And that's why we see Clooney attempting to warn Nassir on the freeway of the danger to his life. He knows that the government wants to have Nassir assassinated soley for the sake of US oil interests. In the freeway scene, Nassir has re-established relations with the Chinese, and with the help of 9 out of 11 of the country's generals, is attempting to take the throne away from his younger brother.
So, everything else is pretty much straightforward.
Syrania illustrates the following points of controversy:
1. The US uses its intelligence community resources to eliminate opposition to its oil interests.
2. US government watchdogs are helpless to make an impact on anti-trust violations committed by oil companies, while the intelligence community acts as an accomplice to those violations.
3. The US strategically ensures that oil producing countries do not improve their infrastructure, economy..etc., so as to keep them more easily controlled.
Again, those are the points of view illustrated by this movie; they are not my own. "
Provocative film lost to an audience expecting "24"-the movi
Royster | the East | 02/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gagan's ideas based film -- while lacking the visual virtuosity of Traffic -- raises some very interesting questions indeed. But all is lost to a collective audience who thinks the "24" is complex and challenging or "Crash" is deep...
It seems that the US audience are so used to "film as pure sensory entertainment" that it infuriated them when nothing is resolved. I find most "bad reviews" (either here or in the press) are laced with misinformation, xenophobia, partisanship bias and juvenille comments. It is unfortunate that doing a narratively complex film offering an alternative view (esp. regarding terrorism) would incite more hate and ignorance as opposed to dialogue.
I find the film to be very well made and the issues it raises are very interesting (esp to those informed in Network systems and the Chaos theory), to a certain extent, Matt Damon, the actor and the narrative his character carries is the weakest part of film and is what I assume a concession to the joe q public -- to present the point of view of an "Average Joe".
Syriana stands proudly alongside The Insider, The Constant Gardner, Traffic and to a lesser extent, Munich (which wraps its ideology in easy to digest Thriller genre conventions ) in honoring the "New Cinema" of the 70s when filmmakers pushed against the grain, but unlike the 70s, there is no longer an like-minded audience (except for the critics) here in the States. I would predict the film to do a lot better in the rest of the world."
Confusing but realistic depiction of politics and oil in th
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 12/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a complex film. It's hard to follow. And at the end I had the feeling that it was too short, which is very unusual for me.
I have no idea what the name of the film is supposed to mean. The situations depicted are supposedly fictional although they are based on some real issues - oil, money, politics, the Middle East crisis, and corruption. There are a lot of characters, many of whom never meet each other, but whose every action effects everything else. George Clooney is one of the stars. He plays a CIA agent. We know he's a paid assassin who is fluent in Farsi and sells bombs. But we're never sure if he's a good guy or a bad guy. And when he, himself is double-crossed and is subjected to torture, we cannot help but feel sorry for him.
Matt Damon's character is also confusing. We're never sure of what his business is but he and his family live a good life in a Middle Eastern country. When he is invited to the home of a Sheik to talk business, his young son is involved in a horrible accident. Somehow, this gives him leverage in his dealings with the Sheik, but his wife now accuses him of selling out.
Then there are the two Middle Eastern princes. At first we dislike them both, but as the film moves along we get a sense of the competition between them. One brother makes a deal with the Americans which will likely be a disaster for his country. The other brother's ideals of long-range planning for the country are dashed. But these plans include a deal with China.
To complicate even more, there are two American oil companies, one of which is owned by Chris Cooper, which are merging in order to buy drilling rights in another Middle Eastern country. But whether there is oil where they will be drilling is questionable. There are a lot of American government investigations going on but the lawyers are all slick and corrupt and none of these investigations every resolve anything.
And then there is the young "guest worker" in the oil-rich country who is pulled into religious fanaticism.
It took me a while to get it but Syriana is SUPPOSED to be confusing. This concept is endemic to the screenplay. Basically the combination of politics and oil in the Middle East is one great big confusing labyrinth. There are no easy answers. In fact, there are no answers at all. Everyone is a bad guy. And everyone is connected to each other in some way. They never realize it though as each one views the world from his own perspective.
When the film was over, I wondered what the plot was about and really thought I had missed something. And then I heard someone seated behind me ask her companion to explain the plot. I understand that professional reviewers were given a written outline of the plot before they reviewed the film. I sure I wish I had had a roadmap like this. But I also really think that it would have narrowed my perspective. The reality of the film is that Middle Eastern politics are so complicated that there is no real understanding and hence, no solution.
I definitely recommend this film. I am sure it will confuse you too. But then, the world is a complex place and there really are no easy answers."
Shari G. | San Diego, Ca United States | 12/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm going to have to see it twice before I comprehend it enough to write a synopsis, but it was good! In a very realistic way, it incorporated all the many elements that really go into decisions and actions re: foreign policy and big oil. The writing, acting, and directing was ALL superb. The movie stays with you long after you leave the theater. I did have to close my eyes at the torture scene."