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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.
So, what's going on?
Matt Damon is a financial advisor to Prince Nassir. Prince Nassir's family just approved a deal for 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. After Clooney narrowly escapes certain death, the torturer threatens to reveal the CIA's assassination attempt to the media.
Next we see Clooney threatening the old man in the cafe. A trusted former co-worker had informed Clooney 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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
"Syriana" is a thinking person's movie. If you do not pay attention, you will get lost very quickly. But, if you pay attention, "Syriana" is highly satisfying. Structured like "Traffic" and "Crash", "Syriana" is a movie that makes you think. The cast is excellent all around, all providing their piece of the puzzle. Director Stephen Gaghan weaves the tale skillfully, bringing seemingly unrelated stories together for a fantastic finish. "Syriana" is definately not a movie for everyone, but I highly recommend this film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting movie on real-world oil dealings, but hard to follow.Published 1 day ago by Feedback for others
I felt I had to write a review after watching this for the second time, and seeing that it received such a mediocre score on Amazon. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Mehmet
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