Syriana

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 366 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 49 out of 366

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User Reviews

  1. Steve
    Mar 8, 2006
    8
    The plot, like the current state of matters in the middle east, is difficult to follow. This is not accidental. A challenge to the idea that we know who are the good and bad guys. Provides a fake back story to many of the quick headlines we see on a daily basis. If you don't follow politics or the Middle East, don't bother seeing this movie. You will hate it.
  2. DWilly
    Dec 4, 2005
    7
    This is a difficult movie to rate. With a solid knowledge of oil politics (which I have) it is quite enjoyable; and without that knowledge (which my wife has not) it is nearly unbearable. It's really rather amazing that this film got made. There are a lot of nice touches and real competence throughout, but, as will always be the danger in a polemic, things tend to get writ broadly. This is a difficult movie to rate. With a solid knowledge of oil politics (which I have) it is quite enjoyable; and without that knowledge (which my wife has not) it is nearly unbearable. It's really rather amazing that this film got made. There are a lot of nice touches and real competence throughout, but, as will always be the danger in a polemic, things tend to get writ broadly. There are really no standout performances; and Matt Damon, though still sharp, revealed a lack of depth in his talent in his ongoing response to an early catastrophic event. Expand
  3. Strappernick
    Jan 1, 2006
    8
    Serious subject well done. Strong acting, sure to garner slew of Oscar nominations. One of the 5 films to put on your "must see" list for 2005.
  4. GeorgeC.
    Jan 3, 2006
    10
    A very good film. Though, not something one needs to see at the theatre. It was a pleasure to watch a well made film and come away with the feeling that my money was well spent. A general question to the audience: If you couldn't follow the movie isn't it your own fault? I agree that it may be more difficult than the average movie, but it isn't that tough!
  5. GaborA.
    Jan 7, 2006
    8
    While i was watching it, i felt dissappointed. Everything was in place but the movie didnt seem to work. However, afterwards i couldnt get the movie out of my head and things started to fall into place. All i could think about was seeing it again. A rare type of movie that gets better as time goes by.
  6. masoudb.
    Jan 9, 2006
    10
    Truth,
  7. MackW.
    Jun 28, 2006
    10
    Cudos to the director, Gaghan, for this extraordinary tour de force. I admit, I had to watch this movie twice to get it. So intricately woven are the details here that I can only describe by saying it is "Shakespearean". We have the right stuff that makes it so: the betrayal aspect--the bribary and schmoozing--the overall ethics and morals of the tale in its relation to the Powers That Cudos to the director, Gaghan, for this extraordinary tour de force. I admit, I had to watch this movie twice to get it. So intricately woven are the details here that I can only describe by saying it is "Shakespearean". We have the right stuff that makes it so: the betrayal aspect--the bribary and schmoozing--the overall ethics and morals of the tale in its relation to the Powers That Be...and an extra eerie touch in that SYRIANA explores all these apt issues of cultural clashes, grabs for power and quest for absolute Dominion, in a time when these very issues are being played out before our very eyes. An extraordinaryily profound and moving film. Expand
  8. EllenG.
    Jul 10, 2006
    9
    You need to pay attention but if you do you will experience a good movie.
  9. JWieners
    Aug 13, 2006
    10
    Without a doubt, one of the finest films I've ever seen. It's a film that offers a rare, impartial illumination of the modern middle east. What could be more timely? It's a unique film in that it doesn't seek to critique or attempt place blame for our current state of affairs but rather attempts to present an bystander view from everybody's angle. It's Without a doubt, one of the finest films I've ever seen. It's a film that offers a rare, impartial illumination of the modern middle east. What could be more timely? It's a unique film in that it doesn't seek to critique or attempt place blame for our current state of affairs but rather attempts to present an bystander view from everybody's angle. It's complex, thought provoking, and mind opening. Some have commented that the film is difficult to follow and overly complex. I will agree in part by saying that for the first 40 minutes of my viewing, I was absolutely overwhelmed and confused, becoming only slightly less so as storylines began to fit together. It is a film that requires contemplation and multiple viewings. Please don't call this a weakness. Understood that this is a complex film about a complex reality in a complex part of the world - to make something simple could not possibly do the topic justice. It raises questions and perspectives that need to be pondered and sorted out. For those who cannot handle this - instead finding such a film poor fare in comparison to the latest Adam Sandler flick - I pity you, because you are oblivious to the world around you and you will never understand it. For all others, do not miss this brilliant film; it will change your perspective on the world. Expand
  10. SamF.
    Oct 25, 2007
    9
    This movie is far subtler and more nuanced than one reviewer on this site credits it with when describing it as 'far-left propaganda'. It's nothing of the sort. The message isn't that America is evil and has only itself to blame for the terrorist attacks aimed at it. Rather it shows a degree of unwitting complicity in the underlying socio-economic triggers for This movie is far subtler and more nuanced than one reviewer on this site credits it with when describing it as 'far-left propaganda'. It's nothing of the sort. The message isn't that America is evil and has only itself to blame for the terrorist attacks aimed at it. Rather it shows a degree of unwitting complicity in the underlying socio-economic triggers for terrorism amongst some elements of American society. Contrary to suggestions, also, that this film portrayed the Muslims (even those coordinating terrorist attacks) as innocent victims, one is hardly made to feel sympathetic towards the dogmatist who by his own admission rejects all reason and logic relying entirely on the Koran to the exclusion of all else as he cynically manipulates disadvantaged youth. Slowly the viewer sees the transformation of a young migrant labourer who has been laid off because of the Prince's deal with a Chinese company (yes - not only American greed is responsible) transform into a suicide bomber, naively led on by masterful and sinister fanatics. On the other hand, far removed from all this, we see those high up in America's corporate hierarchy blissfully immune and ignorant of all this as they casually make decisions that drastically effect huge numbers of people. Corruption lurks like some insidious, pervasive shadow everywhere. We witness the moral decline of Matt Damon's energy analyst character who comes into the employment of the Prince after his son dies, partially as a result of the death. The real stand out here, though, is undoubtedly George Clooney, whose role is utterly without glamour and thus brilliant real. He, unlike Damon, is redeemed over the course of the film and endures everything - battling corruption, dealing with Iranian intelligence agents and suffering torture at the hands of a deceitful, cruel double agent. By far the best performance of his career. The film has been criticized as too convoluted. It's true it has many characters and many plot strands, but if a viewer pays attention and applies the gray matter they will gain a rewarding experience. Not the type of film to relax and unwind to, but definitely worth the while to watch it, appreciate it and get thinking. Expand
  11. debib.
    Nov 22, 2005
    10
    Fantastic....superb performance by the cast, especially by clooney and damon.
  12. AndrewO.
    Dec 10, 2005
    10
    If you liked Traffic you'll like this. While some have criticized it for having multiple groups of main characters with different stories, this is the only way to describe a truly big picture issue in international relations and business. Like Traffic, it's easy to end up sympathizing with (or at least understanding) most of the characters and then feeling conflicted when If you liked Traffic you'll like this. While some have criticized it for having multiple groups of main characters with different stories, this is the only way to describe a truly big picture issue in international relations and business. Like Traffic, it's easy to end up sympathizing with (or at least understanding) most of the characters and then feeling conflicted when they're in opposition. That said, this movie isn't for everyone. Expect to have to pay attention and keep track of different characters between quick cuts from storyline to storyline or it's easy to get lost. Also, this movie rewards viewer if they know more than just the most recent news about the Middle East. Last, it features great performances from all including Clooney, Damon, Chris Cooper, and Alexander Siddig. Expand
  13. SabihM.
    Dec 10, 2005
    9
    Admittedly this is a complicated movie - i don't think everything was resolved in the end, but it's most definitely worth the effort and gaghan's attempt at crafting a story of this magnitude is admirable. and despite what your political leanings, this film is important to see - just to have a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes of the "petropolitical" landscape...
  14. richardb.
    Dec 21, 2005
    9
    I'm adding Syriana to my top 10. Best paranoid thriller since di Palma's Blow Out. Everything Constant Gardener was supposed to be but isnt. Haunting (that vision of the dead son still playing by the fountain)...strong smart (and mostly very quick) performances from Peet, Damon, Clooney,Wright, Plummer and all the CIA & Arab world supporting crew...wow. And to top it off, Miles I'm adding Syriana to my top 10. Best paranoid thriller since di Palma's Blow Out. Everything Constant Gardener was supposed to be but isnt. Haunting (that vision of the dead son still playing by the fountain)...strong smart (and mostly very quick) performances from Peet, Damon, Clooney,Wright, Plummer and all the CIA & Arab world supporting crew...wow. And to top it off, Miles Drentell as the DOJ snake...very cool. I'm not sure if this strange little world is absolutely meant to be the way things truly are, but I fell for it as hard as I fell for the Tinker Tailor miniseries. Intertwined destinies, inexorable tragedy. Phew. Expand
  15. LindaA.
    Jan 1, 2006
    7
    While I usually enjoy a good cerebral movie, this made my head hurt. The ending gave the viewer not one iota of payoff for such difficult work. George Clooney is fabulous in this movie and deserves an award,
  16. JoelS.
    Jan 20, 2006
    10
    If nothing else, these comments certainly prove that people can see very different things in a work of art. Personally, I found it engaging, breathtaking, not at all disjointed, and not too hard to follow -- although it certainly requires a lot of very careful attention, and I'm not sure I caught all the nuances of the corporate merger/investigation plot. In a different state of mind If nothing else, these comments certainly prove that people can see very different things in a work of art. Personally, I found it engaging, breathtaking, not at all disjointed, and not too hard to follow -- although it certainly requires a lot of very careful attention, and I'm not sure I caught all the nuances of the corporate merger/investigation plot. In a different state of mind I might have been less able to follow it, and less forgiving of its demands on my brain. As it was, I saw it in the right frame of mind, and I found it one of the most exciting and compelling movies I've seen in a long time, both artistically and politically. Perhaps there was a somewhat "liberal" slant, as some have complained below, but only in that liberals tend to see shades of gray where conservatives like to see black and white. No one in this movie was blameless. People who don't like the movie are free to not like it, of course, and far be it from me to talk them out of it -- it's just a movie. But all the vehement, angry slurs against it sound like insecurity for not being able to understand it. I'm not seeing very many thoughtful reasons for hating it. I mean, it's really not THAT complicated. Expand
  17. ChaseR.
    Jan 3, 2006
    7
    This film is complex and hard to watch if you
  18. HeatherW.
    Jan 3, 2006
    7
    Fortunately, I had read enough about this movie to know that I should just let it wash over me and not struggle to try to make sense of everything. That's definitely the right way to watch it. I was engrossed from the first moment and it held my attention and curiosity all the way through, despite my inability to figure out exactly what was going on. The scenes set in the Middle East Fortunately, I had read enough about this movie to know that I should just let it wash over me and not struggle to try to make sense of everything. That's definitely the right way to watch it. I was engrossed from the first moment and it held my attention and curiosity all the way through, despite my inability to figure out exactly what was going on. The scenes set in the Middle East were particularly fascinating, and the acting was very good. I found, however, that I actually liked this movie more while I was watching it than I did afterward. My husband and I started putting all the clues and narrative strands together and discovered it really wasn't as "deep" or interesting as all the complexity made you think it was. But, fortunately, I didn't find it manipulative, because that would have definitely ruined it for me. Expand
  19. Jake
    Feb 2, 2006
    8
    Great movie, enjoyed it tremendously. Clooney did a great job in his (strangely enough) supporting role, as did Matt Damon. There were so many plot lines that it was a bit hard to follow, but I wouldn't say confusing. It was cool how everyone's story lines tied in at the end. I saw this the same week as I went to see Munich and think both films did a great job of exploring Great movie, enjoyed it tremendously. Clooney did a great job in his (strangely enough) supporting role, as did Matt Damon. There were so many plot lines that it was a bit hard to follow, but I wouldn't say confusing. It was cool how everyone's story lines tied in at the end. I saw this the same week as I went to see Munich and think both films did a great job of exploring terrorism but through different lenses. The only thing it lacked was an emotional pull, as Mr. Conundrum so aptly pointed out. Expand
  20. KonstantinosM.
    Mar 30, 2006
    7
    I like complex movies which address major issues. However, I found Syriana to be somewhat pretentious: its confusion was unwarranted, both in terms of storytellin as well as stylistically, and gave the impression that its makers were trying to hard to make a "difficult hence serious" movie. I was disappointed after all the hullabaloo.
  21. KelvinL.
    Apr 5, 2006
    8
    A very good film, sure it's not going to be everyone's tastes, it does take a bit of concentration to follow what's going on, but if you stick with it you will be richly rewarded. This was an intelligent movie that was both thought provocking and topical. The director resisted the temptation to put in more action scenes and flashy special effects and that is it's A very good film, sure it's not going to be everyone's tastes, it does take a bit of concentration to follow what's going on, but if you stick with it you will be richly rewarded. This was an intelligent movie that was both thought provocking and topical. The director resisted the temptation to put in more action scenes and flashy special effects and that is it's strength, relying on the dialogue and the strong cast to captivate the audience. Those that have a short attention span would not have understood the film and therefore would not understand the plot twist which are subtley portrayed in the film. This film is a refreshing change from the usual, where everything is spelt out, this film requires your brain to engage to get it. Clooney does a fantastic job and you never get the feeling that he is trying to act away from type, you just believe in his character. This is the way a political thriller should be done, and not like the dross "The constant gardener" was. If you like your films where you really can't predict what happens next and like to engage your brain, go see this film and ignore the people who gave it a low score here, they obviously didn't have the patience or intelligence to enjoy it. The best film of the year so far! Expand
  22. RashaG
    May 9, 2006
    10
    Best movie of the year. I have seen it 3 times until now .
  23. wetwebwork
    Jun 20, 2006
    8
    Awesome. Your not meant to follow every plot. You're supposed to step back and see a bigger picture. It's a complex subject, and Syriana is brave enough present it as such.
  24. J.H.
    Jul 23, 2006
    10
    A very thought-provoking and entertaining film. Clooney is brilliant, and Damon turns in one of his best performances.
  25. JoiH.
    Aug 8, 2006
    10
    Everyone in america, especially high school students, should be required to see this movie. It's the real world, kiddos.
  26. WolfgangK.
    Apr 24, 2008
    7
    Like Inarritu's "Babel","Syriana" is another movie that covers the globe as its setting. Although the representation of certain groups, individuals and institutions such as immigrant Pakistani workers, the fundamentalist Arab cleric and the CIA have some shotcomings, the movie covers these shortcomings through the interchanging scenes and the relationships of the subjects to each Like Inarritu's "Babel","Syriana" is another movie that covers the globe as its setting. Although the representation of certain groups, individuals and institutions such as immigrant Pakistani workers, the fundamentalist Arab cleric and the CIA have some shotcomings, the movie covers these shortcomings through the interchanging scenes and the relationships of the subjects to each other. Great Movie.... Expand
  27. MikeH.
    Nov 25, 2005
    10
    One of the best movie I've seen in years. It is complex and needs the viewer to be alert most of the time. Yet, despite some 'experts' reviews which somehow are undermining the intellegence of the average viewer, you'll definitely understand the movie content and be able to judge its worthiness. It aims at shocking the viewer with what is perceived as the reality of One of the best movie I've seen in years. It is complex and needs the viewer to be alert most of the time. Yet, despite some 'experts' reviews which somehow are undermining the intellegence of the average viewer, you'll definitely understand the movie content and be able to judge its worthiness. It aims at shocking the viewer with what is perceived as the reality of the global business/politics intertwinement. Expand
  28. PedroK.
    Nov 26, 2005
    10
    One of the best films of the year by far. Doesn't pander to the audience, and creates a far more complex world with nuanced three dimensional characters than the usual depictions of good and evil, black and white that we're used to seeing from Hollywood. I'm surprised this even got made, and I'm glad they did, it was about time.
  29. Sean
    Dec 10, 2005
    10
    The movie was definitely challenging but ultimately a very rewarding experience. The movie may feel disjointed initially but it all comes together in the end. It's a movie I've been thinking about since I left the theater and one that I'm anxious to see again.
  30. kynnj.
    Dec 26, 2005
    9
    Excellent flick, with some very good points to make... Unfortunately, a bit hard to follow, so it won't reach a broad audience. Given that this is a movie that attempts to make a political point, the fact that it is hard to follow is a particularly serious flaw, hence I give it a 9 and not a 10. The basic underlying theme I take from this movie is that corporations and not Excellent flick, with some very good points to make... Unfortunately, a bit hard to follow, so it won't reach a broad audience. Given that this is a movie that attempts to make a political point, the fact that it is hard to follow is a particularly serious flaw, hence I give it a 9 and not a 10. The basic underlying theme I take from this movie is that corporations and not politician, let alone ELECTED politicians, run the world. All governments, including our own (in the US) are puppet governmets. This may sound like a Marxist whine, but the movie makes a very plausible, realistic case in support of it. Those who are afraid of watching rather explicit scenes of torture, or of having their worldviews pushed outside the comfort zone should stick with Wallace and Gromit. Expand
  31. VaibhavD.
    Dec 26, 2005
    9
    A movie that is admirable in intent and nearly flawless in its execution. People complaining about its "politics" probably are unaware of recent world history. In fact, the film IMO is largely *apolitical* and quite "passive" in the manner in which it weaves together multiple narratives. There are almost no overt political statements or ham-handed attempts at moralization. The movie A movie that is admirable in intent and nearly flawless in its execution. People complaining about its "politics" probably are unaware of recent world history. In fact, the film IMO is largely *apolitical* and quite "passive" in the manner in which it weaves together multiple narratives. There are almost no overt political statements or ham-handed attempts at moralization. The movie expects the audience to construct the story as it is presented through multiple and seemingly disjoint fashion. If the audience is prepared to work with it as such, it will work equally well as both thriller, and a dispassionate pseudo-documentary on the geo-politics of oil. If you are unprepared to work with the Director on this one, this is not the movie for you. If you are, you will view one of the finest films you will ever see. But for a marginally dissappointing end, I would have given it the highest possible rating. Expand
  32. BaronL.
    Dec 31, 2005
    8
    Complex and unnerving in it's resonance with current events.
  33. PadruigQ.
    Dec 30, 2005
    8
    The attempt to achieve simultaneity of events is almost successful. Some scenes last about ten seconds, very few beyond five minutes. It takes getting used to and it is best not to try to clarify every cause and effect until about fifteen minutes into the film. Clooney's middle-aged mercenary is brilliant characterization.
  34. T.V.
    Dec 4, 2005
    10
    Best movie of the year. Will make you think.
  35. johnp.
    Dec 5, 2005
    10
    The movie is toooooooooo good. An exceptionally good performance by MATT DAMON.
  36. tanias.
    Dec 5, 2005
    10
    I have enjoyed no movie this year as I have enjoyed this one. I award it a perfect 10. A very good job - done by george clooney, matt damon and jeffry wright.
  37. Frank
    Jan 11, 2006
    9
    I think most film lovers were lucky to see so many strong films from 2005. For my money, "Syriana" was one of the best! Such an intruiging and compelling jigsaw. As for the screenplay, I thought it was much more successful than the writer's previous "Traffic." Great performances all around, especially from George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Jeffrey Wright. Outstanding work that will I think most film lovers were lucky to see so many strong films from 2005. For my money, "Syriana" was one of the best! Such an intruiging and compelling jigsaw. As for the screenplay, I thought it was much more successful than the writer's previous "Traffic." Great performances all around, especially from George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Jeffrey Wright. Outstanding work that will stand up to repeated viewings and analysis for years to come. Expand
  38. FrankO.
    Jan 1, 2006
    8
    Had to pay attention carefully to the storyline which is different for today's modern films. Plot twists kept me guessing.
  39. Jamal
    Jan 14, 2006
    8
    Throws so much stuff at you when the movie begins that its hard to follow at first, but eventually you'll come through. I understood the movie, although I had to educate my friends a bit. Overall a very good movie, and one that holds a lot of truth.
  40. Jo
    Jan 15, 2006
    8
    Yes, this movie makes you pay close attention but it's less complicated than "The Usual Suspects" or "Gosford Park" and it'sabout something that affects us all, so it's worth the trouble. It's a rare movie can be entertaining and important at the same time. The characters are a bit two-dimensional but fine acting saves the day.
  41. GrantN.
    Jan 16, 2006
    8
    If you can follow it then you will love it. Unfortunatly it just about impossible to follow all the side-plots and remain connected to the main plot at once.
  42. Jason
    Jan 21, 2006
    10
    if you didn't like this movie you either couldn't follow it and therefore you are a shade slow or you expected it to be tied together in a neat package at the end. i'm glad it wasn't givin an easy hollywood ending that would have killed the movie. now the movie itself is amazing in many ways most notably is fearlessness to shine a light on what is actually going on if you didn't like this movie you either couldn't follow it and therefore you are a shade slow or you expected it to be tied together in a neat package at the end. i'm glad it wasn't givin an easy hollywood ending that would have killed the movie. now the movie itself is amazing in many ways most notably is fearlessness to shine a light on what is actually going on when men like george w. bush deside it would be a good idea to drill for oil in a nature reserve or when you see african country being ignored while millions are either slaughtered or dying of disease but iraq, iran, and saudi arabia on cnn every night. we are pounded with message about those three country to help the acceptance of either going to war or maintaining alliances for the exact reasons this movie explores namely oil/or huge amounts of money. if you are an american watching this movie i'd start taking a closer look at what my government was actually doing (or not doing) for the energy crisis the world currently faces. Expand
  43. BillF.
    Jan 30, 2006
    8
    Just saw this movie and have a few comments. 1. It is complicated and yes following so many characters (specially the old white dudes) was challenging. I like movies that make you pay attention versus treating the viewer like an idiot. 2. It is a thought provoking movie, regardless of your political affiliation. 3. Most people go to movies to either be entertained. If you are looking to Just saw this movie and have a few comments. 1. It is complicated and yes following so many characters (specially the old white dudes) was challenging. I like movies that make you pay attention versus treating the viewer like an idiot. 2. It is a thought provoking movie, regardless of your political affiliation. 3. Most people go to movies to either be entertained. If you are looking to hollywood to provide you with in depth truthful political reporting...I can see where you would rate this film low. 4. I thought it one of the better movies I have seen in the last year. and worth the cash to see it. Expand
  44. MonaZ
    Jan 4, 2006
    10
    One of the best films I've ever seen. It's a masterpiece.
  45. AlbertR.
    Jan 6, 2006
    9
    While it's true that you have to pay attention to keep track of the interwoven plot, I didn't find it too confusing. I like this approach of different character-driven strands that all add up, leaving something for the reader to synthsize. I enjoyed thinking about it afterward. One of the difficulties might be that there is no real hero--no one who is truly good or uncorrrupted While it's true that you have to pay attention to keep track of the interwoven plot, I didn't find it too confusing. I like this approach of different character-driven strands that all add up, leaving something for the reader to synthsize. I enjoyed thinking about it afterward. One of the difficulties might be that there is no real hero--no one who is truly good or uncorrrupted by the system. Maybe that's also a strength and a statement. More profoundly, the film refuses to judge the characters, letting the audience take that on. This is especially true of how they handled the incipient terrorists--I never got the sense that they were being presented as "our enemies." Refreshing. Lastly, the film is superbly made and photographed. It may be too suble and complex for some movie-movie types. If that's you, avoid this. If you want to learn about the geo-politics of big oil without being talked down to, see this. Expand
  46. DanielC.
    Mar 27, 2006
    8
    Syriana is a very confusing movie with about 22 plot strands, three main characters following completely different plot routes and an ensemble cast of executives and arabs which makes you wonder who he is and how he links to the other guy. You may read this and think: "This sounds bad." Syriana is meant to be confusing, comprising many viewpoints to show you the different outlooks of each Syriana is a very confusing movie with about 22 plot strands, three main characters following completely different plot routes and an ensemble cast of executives and arabs which makes you wonder who he is and how he links to the other guy. You may read this and think: "This sounds bad." Syriana is meant to be confusing, comprising many viewpoints to show you the different outlooks of each group of the middle east conflict. Plus, Syriana is a complex movie that focuses on many issues, many of which can't be explained in a black-white bad-good movie. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Business provides employment yet marginalises the have nots. This movie encaptures some of these ideas and more, and does it rather well. The main characters Damon, Clooney and Wright do a good job of representing the differing people in which have a part to play in the situation. Overall, Syriana succeeds in it's illustration. If you don't follow politics, you wont get head or tail of this movie. It is very complex, and assumes that the viewer knows his stuff about Arabian secrutiy issues and multi-national globalisation and it's drawbacks. That is not to say that a normal person cannot enjoy it, it is a great movie, but does get bogged down with all the competing influences it tires to encompass to give the viewer a complete picture. Well done Gagham, this is a well polished job. My question is: Was Clooney's performance better than Damon's or Wright's? Collapse
  47. O.Dough
    Mar 29, 2006
    8
    Some find it hard to follow, I enjoyed it thouroughly. It's also a important comment on U.S. foreign policy. This simply isn't for everybody. It's in the eye of the beholder.
  48. KeithY.
    Jun 23, 2006
    7
    Decent rental, not as good as the hype. For one, I didn't think it "took off at lightning speed" as quoted by Rolling Stone and prominently displayed on the back of the DVD case. Instead, as I watched the first 10 minutes, I wondered what I missed. Also, the part where the young boy died was completely pointless, serving only to build unconvincing drama into the world of the Damon Decent rental, not as good as the hype. For one, I didn't think it "took off at lightning speed" as quoted by Rolling Stone and prominently displayed on the back of the DVD case. Instead, as I watched the first 10 minutes, I wondered what I missed. Also, the part where the young boy died was completely pointless, serving only to build unconvincing drama into the world of the Damon character. Certain parts of this movie sent chills up my spine, the rest was a bit tiresome. That said, I don't think it is a best movie of year candidate. I'll stick with Crash or Walk the Line, Ray, all much better IMHO. Expand
  49. MikeD.
    Jun 25, 2006
    9
    Pretty intense movie that did a great job into tackling several hot topics of today all at once...corporate greed, terrorism, govt corruption, etc. Clooney was great. The story is one that you have to pay attention to or risk getting lost/confused as there are several sub-stories going on at once but this is a solid movie and well worth the rental or even purchase.
  50. BrettC.
    Jul 12, 2006
    10
    The best film I saw last year. It's very illuminating that the only people who give this film a bad rating on this site are the ones who complain that they can't understand it. I' m not going to argue with them - they probably wouldn't get it anyway. This film has a lot to say about some extremely important topics, and it dazzles along the way. If you just can't The best film I saw last year. It's very illuminating that the only people who give this film a bad rating on this site are the ones who complain that they can't understand it. I' m not going to argue with them - they probably wouldn't get it anyway. This film has a lot to say about some extremely important topics, and it dazzles along the way. If you just can't stomach the thought of 4 more Pirates of the Caribbean sequels and want a film that you will actually remember the next day, try this one. Oh, and George Clooney is outstanding. Expand
  51. AndyS.
    Jan 2, 2007
    8
    Such an mportant film at this point in time. Watching it a year after its release is like watching the film predict the future. Very, very emotional film.
  52. JohnS.
    Aug 22, 2007
    10
    Superb! For raising important issue of today's reality - zealous pursuit of wealth and power - in oil industry in this case, how they are interconnected with powerful people in Washington and why some want America to be dependent on oil in those middle eastern countries. Yes, it's not a standard Hollywood staple with standard happy-ending, but rather a thought provoker to Superb! For raising important issue of today's reality - zealous pursuit of wealth and power - in oil industry in this case, how they are interconnected with powerful people in Washington and why some want America to be dependent on oil in those middle eastern countries. Yes, it's not a standard Hollywood staple with standard happy-ending, but rather a thought provoker to encourage the American people to think how the resources of this great nation are being abused for the benefits of few. Everybody needs to watch this movie and THINK about the state of affairs. Expand
  53. Daniel
    Sep 20, 2007
    10
    Even though Clooney and Damon are extreme liberals, they played their parts well. Now if Congress would just believe what Syriana said about Iran.
  54. AlanN.
    Sep 28, 2007
    9
    This is one of the best films I have ever seen. Anyone with even a remote interest in world politics should see this movie. To be rewarded though you have to concentrate, this film is not complicated if you pay attention but anyone expecting to be spoon-fed the storyline should look elsewhere. I guess some of the negative comments on here are from blind patriots who see this movie as This is one of the best films I have ever seen. Anyone with even a remote interest in world politics should see this movie. To be rewarded though you have to concentrate, this film is not complicated if you pay attention but anyone expecting to be spoon-fed the storyline should look elsewhere. I guess some of the negative comments on here are from blind patriots who see this movie as Anti-American and nothing more. It is not Anti-American, it is Anti-Corruption ..... wherever that may be found and exposed. Superb stuff. Expand
  55. ramin
    Nov 21, 2005
    10
    Best film about middle east.
  56. C.B.
    Nov 30, 2005
    8
    Traffic with oil.
  57. Greg
    Dec 11, 2005
    9
    As some critics point out, this movie is indeed disjointed, but that's the point. Writer/director Stephen Gaghan has made the potentially dangerous assumption that his audience has brains which function, and are thus capable of paying close attention. The movie's (and book's) ultimate point is that we are all sucking at the oil teat, which despite anyone's best As some critics point out, this movie is indeed disjointed, but that's the point. Writer/director Stephen Gaghan has made the potentially dangerous assumption that his audience has brains which function, and are thus capable of paying close attention. The movie's (and book's) ultimate point is that we are all sucking at the oil teat, which despite anyone's best machinations, shall eventually run dry. I also strongly recommend Robert Baer's books "See No Evil" and "Sleeping With The Devil". Expand
  58. AndreA.
    Dec 10, 2005
    7
    I really want to like this movie because of the subject matter, but I was confused one too many times to give it more than a 7. It's definitely not an enjoyable movie, but this movie is clearly not designed to be enjoyed -- it seems to me designed to get people to see how big business (particularly big oil) protects itself and is very, very good at doing it. For people who are I really want to like this movie because of the subject matter, but I was confused one too many times to give it more than a 7. It's definitely not an enjoyable movie, but this movie is clearly not designed to be enjoyed -- it seems to me designed to get people to see how big business (particularly big oil) protects itself and is very, very good at doing it. For people who are already aware of this, it may be a little to obvious. For people who aren't, maybe it shows a new point of view that might educate. Even if it did, it's still a hard movie to recommend. Expand
  59. Ryan
    Dec 12, 2005
    9
    This film features some top-notch cinematography. Not unlike Gaghan's "Traffic", this movie will have you thinking about its message for days.
  60. TomD.
    Dec 12, 2005
    9
    Mesermizing and fast. I didn't feel swept along by the story so much as entrenched in it. I love movies that reward you for your intelligence, dilligence and offer you a complex puzzle to solve and re-solve. Not for everyone, of course, but the fact that character's lives and deaths came with such silence and pause made the humanist nature of the filmmaker eminently clear. All Mesermizing and fast. I didn't feel swept along by the story so much as entrenched in it. I love movies that reward you for your intelligence, dilligence and offer you a complex puzzle to solve and re-solve. Not for everyone, of course, but the fact that character's lives and deaths came with such silence and pause made the humanist nature of the filmmaker eminently clear. All the while leaving the entire story, like a map of the world that may contain more conflict than oil reserves. Expand
  61. OrenK
    Dec 14, 2005
    7
    Excellent acting, beautiful cinematography, but the plot was a bit slow and drawn out.
  62. jdelapa
    Dec 15, 2005
    10
    Wow. This movie is amazing. I can't stop thinking about it... I think its this years best, and certainly my new favorite.
  63. gregj.
    Dec 17, 2005
    10
    this is to PETER G. sir, this is hardly an anti-american movie, it is simply reality. you need to read a book sometime. have you not seen the pictures of bush holding king abdullah's hand? do you not know thatthe cia helped return the shah to power after a pro-democratic but american oil company leader named mossadeq was ousted so that we could still have iranian oil. oh and you this is to PETER G. sir, this is hardly an anti-american movie, it is simply reality. you need to read a book sometime. have you not seen the pictures of bush holding king abdullah's hand? do you not know thatthe cia helped return the shah to power after a pro-democratic but american oil company leader named mossadeq was ousted so that we could still have iranian oil. oh and you worked for an oil company, so i guess makes you an expert on what the company is doing in congress or overseas. what do you think im a moron? come on man i'm not your son. i could have also sat here and thrown some stupid comment alluding to my qualifications in writing this comment like, "I have a political science degree." that wouldn't mean anything unless i backed my opinion with some facts, so next time you wanna make an inane comment about how liberals in hollywood hate america, at least have a facts to back it up. Expand
  64. HowardF.
    Dec 26, 2005
    10
    One of the best movies of the year. While some may complain of no action, the information IS the action and leaves you sitting in your seat stunned. This story of wealth and power is a powerhouse effect. I was prepared to pay attention and think about what was going on and had little trouble keeping it all together. It's not necessary, though, to try and keep track of every detail One of the best movies of the year. While some may complain of no action, the information IS the action and leaves you sitting in your seat stunned. This story of wealth and power is a powerhouse effect. I was prepared to pay attention and think about what was going on and had little trouble keeping it all together. It's not necessary, though, to try and keep track of every detail because the load of information given to you sets the mood and ambiance. But you do have to pay attention. So riveting that the two rows I sat in didn't budge as the credits rolled up. Expand
  65. RhettW.
    Dec 28, 2005
    8
    George Clooney stands out. Highlight: Tim Blake Nelson's "Wall Street" like rant on how corruption is good for America.
  66. JoelK.
    Dec 29, 2005
    9
    Very good, very thought-provoking.
  67. MarcH.
    Dec 29, 2005
    10
    If you enjoy an intelligent movie that requires a little bit of thought and effort out of the viewer you will love this movie. Very rewarding, I was in the theatre with only a few others but I noticed not a single person left when the credits began to roll. Everyone just sat there in awe. A truly great thinking man's flick. If, on the other hand, you require big explosions to a If you enjoy an intelligent movie that requires a little bit of thought and effort out of the viewer you will love this movie. Very rewarding, I was in the theatre with only a few others but I noticed not a single person left when the credits began to roll. Everyone just sat there in awe. A truly great thinking man's flick. If, on the other hand, you require big explosions to a nu-metal rock soundtrack to keep you entertained then save your money and rewatch Vin Diesel in "XXX" Expand
  68. Graham
    Dec 6, 2005
    9
    Excellent, don't trust the people that say this isnt good, one of the best films of the year, Clooney should be nominated!
  69. Charles
    Dec 7, 2005
    10
    Complicated, but worth the effort.
  70. BillyS.
    Jan 15, 2006
    8
    For the 18-30 year olds that every movie hopes will pay 10 bucks to see it, lat me put it in terms you'll understand, in Syriana, George Clooney and Stephen Gaghan really PUNK corporate oil, George Bush and the CIA all in one exciting episode with explosions, car chases and kidnappings and for the over 30's it's an intricate, intelligent, multi-layered reflection on the For the 18-30 year olds that every movie hopes will pay 10 bucks to see it, lat me put it in terms you'll understand, in Syriana, George Clooney and Stephen Gaghan really PUNK corporate oil, George Bush and the CIA all in one exciting episode with explosions, car chases and kidnappings and for the over 30's it's an intricate, intelligent, multi-layered reflection on the world today and one of the 10 best films of the year! Expand
  71. DianeH.
    Jan 17, 2006
    8
    This movie is difficult to follow, but worth the effort. When I find myself thinking about a movie for days afterward, I know it was well-done. This movie does that... makes you wonder about big oil companies, and the role of our government in the fight for oil
  72. Dr.Venus
    Dec 1, 2006
    10
    I loved the complexity of the multiple storylines and that the ending was not some neat little Hollywood package with all the loose ends tied up. Life is messy. The oil situation is messy: the oil barons want to stay in power and you see how they do it.
  73. Randy
    Jan 22, 2006
    9
    Those who can't follow the movie need to just pay closer attention, it really isn't that complicated. That said there is a lot going on. Although the film may be Hollywood it is well done and bring light to to things occuring around us that me may not be aware of. As a person always seeking films that make me think, I loved it.
  74. Adam
    Jan 27, 2006
    10
    This is, I think, the best movie of the year. I felt like I had seen something very important after I got done watching it. The movie does such a good job tying together all the different plotlines and characters, and it makes you care for all the characters (yes, even the terrorists). The movie depicts every character in an extremely realistic light, devoid of demonization or propaganda. This is, I think, the best movie of the year. I felt like I had seen something very important after I got done watching it. The movie does such a good job tying together all the different plotlines and characters, and it makes you care for all the characters (yes, even the terrorists). The movie depicts every character in an extremely realistic light, devoid of demonization or propaganda. It tells it like it is. As for those who think the movie is an excuse to rip George W. Bush, I saw this movie with a large group of people, most of them loyal Conservative Republicans, and they all loved the movie as much as I did. Expand
  75. HalB.
    Jun 23, 2006
    8
    A very good, nearly great film. Reviewers who give it low marks must be accustomed to being spoon-fed the usual Hollywood tripe. Yes, it requires one to actually pay attention. Yes, the plot lines are complex and interwoven. And yes, it is one of the best films of the year. The acting was excellent, the pacing superb, and the climax was riveting. I found myself occasionally confused, but A very good, nearly great film. Reviewers who give it low marks must be accustomed to being spoon-fed the usual Hollywood tripe. Yes, it requires one to actually pay attention. Yes, the plot lines are complex and interwoven. And yes, it is one of the best films of the year. The acting was excellent, the pacing superb, and the climax was riveting. I found myself occasionally confused, but ultimately rewarded, for having spent time with this film. For anyone who thinks the modern global economy, based on our gluttony for oil as it is, is an intrinsically good thing -- see this film and pay attention! A cynical, but undoubtedly realistic picture of our world today. Sobering, though-provoking, entertaining. Expand
  76. ChrisW.
    Jun 24, 2006
    9
    Simply amazing... OK, maybe not simply, as you do have to follow this movie carefully to understand it. Great performances teamed up with a story that gets more relative as time goes by. Time in the film and real life. A great lesson is to be learned and changes do need to be made.
  77. JohnH.
    Jul 14, 2006
    9
    Being just fifteen, I was a bit lost watching the movie the first time, but a repeat view allowed me to understand a wonderful plot full of complex characters in the disturbing world which is our own. If a teenager can figure it out, then no adults (except perhaps stupid ones) can legitimately criticize the movie for being "confusing". Pretty cool.
  78. DaveW.
    Nov 19, 2009
    10
    Well worth the concentration and focus required.
  79. ramin
    Nov 21, 2005
    10
    Best film about middle east.
  80. tim
    Nov 21, 2005
    10
    The main complaint i hear about this film is that it goes too fast to catch the plot, - all the information is actually between the lines. well, this movie doesn't spell it out in words, but if you can't get the idea from all this great acting and writing and direction, you probably aren't good at getting ideas.
  81. MichaelB.
    Nov 23, 2005
    10
    Look at this movie as somewhat of an IQ test, then check the scores it received from the media critics... Yes, it's a difficult, intellectually challenging movie that refuses to spoonfeed expositional pablum to the viewer, but it's also a terrific thriller. My pick for the best and boldest movie from Hollywood this year.
  82. DanB.
    Nov 23, 2005
    9
    No bad guys. no good guys. conspiracy without the conspiracy. whiz. bang. zoom. boffo flick.
  83. Buzz
    Nov 28, 2005
    10
    I'm not going to take stabs at people who don't get this film. there was a guy behind me snoring, the guy to my left would sigh hyperbolically everytime a scene changed...it's not for everyone. but if you like true drama, great acting, and inspired stroytelling - and don't need a movie riddled with chase scenes scored to techo and "everything's gonna be alright" I'm not going to take stabs at people who don't get this film. there was a guy behind me snoring, the guy to my left would sigh hyperbolically everytime a scene changed...it's not for everyone. but if you like true drama, great acting, and inspired stroytelling - and don't need a movie riddled with chase scenes scored to techo and "everything's gonna be alright" summations - invest a couple of hours in a little high-quality edutainment. be not afraid. Expand
  84. DexterB.
    Dec 11, 2005
    10
    Okay this is great.... this board is like an IQ test! People who are pretty dumb... well they complain about it being "too complicated" and give it a low score 'cause it caused them to break into a sweat trying to think. If you cross reference the names with reviews of, say Spiderman 2, you'll see that they loved movies made for kids under 8 and just plain dumb people. People Okay this is great.... this board is like an IQ test! People who are pretty dumb... well they complain about it being "too complicated" and give it a low score 'cause it caused them to break into a sweat trying to think. If you cross reference the names with reviews of, say Spiderman 2, you'll see that they loved movies made for kids under 8 and just plain dumb people. People with a little intelligence had no difficulties and were able to grok the whole thing. It's like taking your pet white rat to the Matise/Pissarro exhibit... he's just not going to get it, and will probably b and moan about having to sit through it. Well, most rats. There are exeptions. Expand
  85. HeatherM.
    Dec 13, 2005
    10
    This movie is so engaging and beautifully crafted. George Clooney is batting a thousand so far this year!
  86. spongeee
    Dec 13, 2005
    9
    Great film. I honestly 'got' about 80-90 percent of the movie on first view, but I left feeling rewarded for watching the story. Great suspense and pace. Check it!!!
  87. DanB
    Dec 14, 2005
    8
    I think the reaction people have to this film will tell you more about the person speaking than the film. And for the record, I'm not at all sure it's particularly liberal, nor does it so strenuously assert the oil business is evil. I mean, you could think it says that, but I think the msg is a bit more mixed than that.
  88. J-Lo
    Dec 16, 2005
    8
    It's interesting that the major reasons MC users did not like Syriania either are (1) they did not get it or (2) did not agree with the politics. To answer the first group, there is a category of film (and music, theater, painting, etc) in which you are not supposed to get it. The mystery and confusion are intentional. If you think the film was boring and that watching paint dry It's interesting that the major reasons MC users did not like Syriania either are (1) they did not get it or (2) did not agree with the politics. To answer the first group, there is a category of film (and music, theater, painting, etc) in which you are not supposed to get it. The mystery and confusion are intentional. If you think the film was boring and that watching paint dry would be more fun, have no fear: Spiderman III and a new James Bond movie are in the works. As for the politcal reactions to the film, calling Syriana "trite," "absurd," "self important," etc., I have some advice: for your own peace of mind you should stay away from movies with messages that you can predict you'll disagree with, because, as you well know, anything you disagree with is obviously flawed and wrong. And in this case a former CIA operative in the Middle East who wrote the book on which the movie is based could not possibly know what he was writing about and therefore the film deserves a 0. Brilliant. Expand
  89. WW
    Dec 16, 2005
    9
    Gripping plot is not for the easily distracted. Twists and turns keep the audience guessing and constantly trying to piece the puzzle together, only to find in the end that the puzzle might take a few repeated viewings to fully realize the scope of this ambitious work. Above all, this film provokes thought on the balancing act that is capitalism, diplomacy, and ethics, and whether Gripping plot is not for the easily distracted. Twists and turns keep the audience guessing and constantly trying to piece the puzzle together, only to find in the end that the puzzle might take a few repeated viewings to fully realize the scope of this ambitious work. Above all, this film provokes thought on the balancing act that is capitalism, diplomacy, and ethics, and whether it's possbile for them to even share the same breath in America. Fans of films like Traffic, The Manchurian Candidate, and All the Presidents Men have a new gem to polish. Expand
  90. dave
    Dec 19, 2005
    10
    This movie was great. However, if you are an idiot and can't follow four separate parts to one story (that all come together) then don't bother. So, go see the movie. But be warned: it's not action packed, yoiu may have to think instead of absorbing special effects, and you may have to use reasoning skills at something like a fifth grade level. Unfortunately as I've This movie was great. However, if you are an idiot and can't follow four separate parts to one story (that all come together) then don't bother. So, go see the movie. But be warned: it's not action packed, yoiu may have to think instead of absorbing special effects, and you may have to use reasoning skills at something like a fifth grade level. Unfortunately as I've seen several comments below, these traits are now few and far between. Expand
  91. BlackGold
    Dec 26, 2005
    9
    The movie is simply about oil and how different people try to hustle it...its various stories and points of view strung together with some slick editing and DP work...its black gold 4 sure!
  92. Jun 1, 2012
    10
    As real as movies get to reality.
  93. Sep 3, 2013
    8
    Syriana was a well put together movie. Although the story was difficult to follow, and I had to pause like 8 times to figure out what happened in the previous scene, it was brilliantly put together through both plot and script. Acting was also very good. I'm afraid not many people have seen, or understood, this movie as its puts things into perspective.
  94. Apr 26, 2016
    9
    A gripping, political thriller that's intelligent and complicated. This is a thinking person's drama, you have to pay attention. Excellent cast and acting as well.

    Watch it online for free: https://www.primewire.ag/watch-1747-Syriana
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. 100
    Takes off with the lightning speed of a thriller, the gonzo force of frontline journalism and the emotional wallop of a drama that puts a human face on shocking statistics.
  2. The character and geographical jumps leave you in a muddle with thinly sketched personalities and confusing plot points. Worse, dialogue dense with nuance and shaded meaning flies by too quickly.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    A weighty and deeply intriguing look at the many-tentacled beast that is the international oil industry. Wide-ranging and restlessly probing, Stephen Gaghan's second directorial effort uses the same mosaic storytelling technique as in his Oscar-winning screenplay for "Traffic."