User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 361 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 49 out of 361
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  1. 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!
  2. masoudb.
    Jan 9, 2006
    10
    Truth,
  3. 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
  4. EllenG.
    Jul 10, 2006
    9
    You need to pay attention but if you do you will experience a good movie.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. debib.
    Nov 22, 2005
    10
    Fantastic....superb performance by the cast, especially by clooney and damon.
  8. 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
  9. 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...
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. RashaG
    May 9, 2006
    10
    Best movie of the year. I have seen it 3 times until now .
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. T.V.
    Dec 4, 2005
    10
    Best movie of the year. Will make you think.
  21. johnp.
    Dec 5, 2005
    10
    The movie is toooooooooo good. An exceptionally good performance by MATT DAMON.
  22. 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.
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. MonaZ
    Jan 4, 2006
    10
    One of the best films I've ever seen. It's a masterpiece.
  26. 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
  27. 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.
  28. 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
  29. 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. Collapse
  30. 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.
  31. 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
  32. ramin
    Nov 21, 2005
    10
    Best film about middle east.
  33. 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
  34. 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.
  35. 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
  36. 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.
  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. JoelK.
    Dec 29, 2005
    9
    Very good, very thought-provoking.
  40. 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
  41. 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!
  42. Charles
    Dec 7, 2005
    10
    Complicated, but worth the effort.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. DaveW.
    Nov 19, 2009
    10
    Well worth the concentration and focus required.
  49. ramin
    Nov 21, 2005
    10
    Best film about middle east.
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. DanB.
    Nov 23, 2005
    9
    No bad guys. no good guys. conspiracy without the conspiracy. whiz. bang. zoom. boffo flick.
  53. 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
  54. 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
  55. HeatherM.
    Dec 13, 2005
    10
    This movie is so engaging and beautifully crafted. George Clooney is batting a thousand so far this year!
  56. 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!!!
  57. 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
  58. 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
  59. 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!
  60. Jun 1, 2012
    10
    As real as movies get to reality.
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."