2005   USA Syriana
Syriana Image Cover
Additional Images
Director:Stephen Gaghan
Studio:Warner Brothers
Writer:Robert Baer, Stephen Gaghan
IMDb Rating:7.1 (59,708 votes)
Awards:Won Oscar. Another 5 wins & 16 nominations
Duration:126 min
Stephen Gaghan  ...  (Director)
Robert Baer, Stephen Gaghan  ...  (Writer)
Kayvan Novak  ...  Arash
George Clooney  ...  Bob Barnes
Amr Waked  ...  Mohammed Sheik Agiza
Christopher Plummer  ...  Dean Whiting
Jeffrey Wright  ...  Bennett Holiday
Chris Cooper  ...  Jimmy Pope
Robert Foxworth  ...  Tommy Barton
Nicky Henson  ...  Sydney Hewitt
Nicholas Art  ...  Riley Woodman
Matt Damon  ...  Bryan Woodman
Amanda Peet  ...  Julie Woodman
Steven Hinkle  ...  Max Woodman
Daisy Tormé  ...  Rebecca
Peter Gerety  ...  Leland "Lee" Janus
Richard Lintern  ...  Bryan's Boss
Robert Elswit  ...  Cinematographer
Summary: Syriana is an oil-based soap opera set against the world of global oil cartels. It is to the oil industry as Traffic was to the drug trade (no surprise, since writer/director Stephen Gaghan wrote the screenplay to Traffic): a sprawling attempt to portray the vast political, business, social, and personal implications of a societal addiction, in this case, oil. A major merger between two of the world's largest oil companies reveals ethical dilemmas for the lawyer charged with making the deal (Jeffrey Wright), and major global implications beyond the obvious; a CIA operative (George Clooney) discovers the truth about his work, and the people he works for; a young oil broker (Matt Damon) encounters personal tragedy, then partners with an idealistic Gulf prince (Alexander Siddig) attempting to build a new economy for his people, only to find he's opposed by powers far beyond his control. Meanwhile, disenfranchised Pakistani youths are lured into terrorism by a radical Islamic cleric. And that's just the start. As in Traffic, in one way or another all of the characters' fates are tied to each other, whether they realize it or not, though the connections are sometimes tenuous. While Syriana is basically a good film with timely resonance, it can't quite seem to measure up to Gaghan's ambitious vision and it very nearly collapses under the weight of its many storylines. Fortunately they are resolved skillfully enough to keep the film from going under in the end. To some viewers, Syriana will seem like an unfocused and over-loaded film that goes, all at once, everywhere and nowhere. Others will find it to be an important work earnestly exploring major issues. In either case, it's a film that deserves to be taken seriously, and it's likely to be one that will be talked about for a long time to come. --Dan Vancini
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Stills from Syriana (click for larger image)

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