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As a career CIA operative begins to uncover the disturbing truth about the work he has devoted his life to, an up-and-coming oil broker faces an unimaginable family tragedy and finds redemption in his partnership with an idealistic Gulf prince. A corporate lawyer faces a moral dilemma as he finesses the questionable merger of two powerful U.S. oil companies, while across the globe, a disenfranchised Pakistani teenage falls prey to the recruiting efforts of a charismatic cleric. Each plays their small part in the vast and complex system that powers the industry, unaware of the explosive impact their lives will have upon the world.
PROFANITY: 16 F-words, 5 S-words, 3 GD's, a few others. SEX/NUDITY: None. VIOLENCE: One bloody torture sequence. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Alcohol and tobacco. ACTION: A couple of big explosions. COMEDY: Some kid humor.
The above rating is an average of the critic reviews below.
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Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Very Good In today's environment, it's a rare thing to find a movie with interesting characters in dense, intelligent storylines, but that's what Syriana offers. It is one of the best films of 2005.
Roger EbertFull Review Excellent think 'Syriana' is a great film. I am unable to make my reasons clear without resorting to meaningless generalizations. Individual scenes have fierce focus and power, but the film's overall drift stands apart from them.
Note: The rating
above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
Based on a theater exit polling of 126 moviegoers: Well, the professional movie critics certainly enjoyed "Syriana" more than moviegoers. There are WAY to many low to very low moviegoer opinions and WAY to few high moviegoer opinions. What this graph shows is that about a third really enjoyed "Syriana," a third rated it as an average to below average movie and the last third truly disliked it. Will YOU enjoy it? If your taste in movies tends to run close to that of professional movie critics then you will likely enjoy "Syriana" very much. For everyone else I would urge caution. Read all we offer on this movie before deciding. If you're still unsure then I would suggest that you see a lower priced matinee, just in case.
The intrigue takes place against the backdrop of an oil-producing Gulf
country, where young, charismatic and reform-minded Prince Nasir (ALEXANDER
SIDDIG) is seeking to change long-established relationships with U.S. business
interests. Nasir, the apparent heir to the throne, has just granted natural
gas drilling rights - long held by Connex, a Texas energy giant - to a higher
Chinese bid. This is a huge blow to Connex and American business interests in
the region. Killen, a smaller Texas oil company owned by Jimmy Pope (CHRIS
COOPER), has just won the very competitive drilling rights to coveted fields in
Kazakhstan. This makes Killen very attractive to Connex, who now needs new
territory to maintain its production capacity. When the two companies merge,
the pending deal attracts the scrutiny of the Justice Dept., and Sloan Whiting,
a powerful white-shoe Washington law firm, is brought in to perform due diligence.
Bob Barnes (GEORGE CLOONEY) is a veteran CIA agent nearing the end of a long and
respectable career, with a son headed for college (MAX MINGHELLA) and the
possibility of spending the latter days of his service in a cushy desk job. A
devoted company man, Bob's always been a true believer that his work benefits
his government and makes his country a safer place.
In Bob's last assignment, an assassination of two arms dealers in
Tehran, a Stinger missile falls into the hands of a mysterious blue-eyed
Egyptian. On his return to Washington, Bob is promised a promotion after one
last undercover mission - assassinating Prince Nasir. But when one of his field
contacts turns on him and the assassination attempt goes terribly awry, Bob isscapegoated by the CIA, betrayed by the organization to which he has devoted his
life. As he searches to understand what has happened, he begins to realize that
he has been lied to - used as a pawn and never privy to the real motivation for
the assignments he has blindly carried out for years.
Bennett Holiday (JEFFREY WRIGHT) is an ambitious Washington attorney at Sloan
Whiting, in charge of the delicate task of guiding the Connex-Killen merger
through the deep waters of D.C. He needs to give the Justice Department enough
material to make their case against Killen for its shady dealings in Kazakhstan
without jeopardizing the entire deal. It's in the company and the country's
interest that the merger go through. It also serves Bennett's ambitions -
ambitions fueled by a father (WILLIAM C. MITCHELL) he is constantly at odds
Energy analyst Bryan Woodman (MATT DAMON) is a rising star at an Energy Trading
Company, living with his wife Julie (AMANDA PEET) and their two young sons in
Geneva. When he attends a party thrown by Prince Nasir's family, a tragic
accident results in the death of Bryan's young son. Nasir attempts to make
amends for what happened, offering Bryan a business opportunity to help the
young leader realize his reformist ideas - an opportunity Bryan embraces, to the
dismay of his grieving wife.
Dean Whiting (CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER), Bennett's boss, the head of Sloan
Whiting and one of the most powerful men in Washington, is trying to undo
Nasir's deal with the Chinese. He knows that Nasir's younger, more callow
brother, Prince Meshal (AKBAR KURTHA), will be more amenable to American
business interests and he pressures the aging Emir to choose his younger son to
succeed him, effectively engineering Nasir's political demise.
At the other end of the wage scale in Nasir's country are the migrant laborers
toiling in its energy fields, whose lives are directly and drastically affected
by the royal family's policies and the vagaries of the industry. Connex workersSaleem Ahmed Kahn (SHAHID AHMED) and his son Wasim (MAZHAR MUNIR) have just been
laid off from their jobs in the fields when the Chinese take them over,