Warner Bros. Pictures | Release Date: November 23, 2005
7.8
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 368 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
275
Mixed:
44
Negative:
49
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5
PeterZ.Jan 2, 2006
Hollywood fops dictating unreality with no sense of character or adventure.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
5
MarcusD.Apr 5, 2007
Weak direction. Tries to be like 'Traffic' and fails. To many things going on at once. Good acting though.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
4
ChuckU.Jan 6, 2006
Undeveloped characters, choppy, shallow. this movie blew the chance on what should have been an awesome topic.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
PeterG.Dec 12, 2005
Trite and underwhelming. I have worked in the international oil business. As a society we seem to wish that there was some grand conspiracy, someone to blame besides ourselves as will stop to fill up the SUV. Things just do not work the way Trite and underwhelming. I have worked in the international oil business. As a society we seem to wish that there was some grand conspiracy, someone to blame besides ourselves as will stop to fill up the SUV. Things just do not work the way portrayed in the film. Reality is much more complicated and less intentional. To me, this was just another grandiose, liberal "Hollywood: view of reality: America is evil, big business (oil) is evil, evil America loves evil, corrupt Dictators, but suicide bombers are just desperate, misunderstood basic folks with a really good heart deep down. There are some good points to the film as well, like the frustration that must be felt from perceived American inteference in politics, but basically the movie reflects an agenda. I am getting sick of all the "America is bad" inferences gushing from rich Hollywood liberals. Time to stay home for a while. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
AaronkDec 17, 2005
The movie was interesting, and made this usually very political and dry subject more human for both sides. On the other hand the film was slow and uncompelling from the beginning. The characters that were compelling were not developed. The The movie was interesting, and made this usually very political and dry subject more human for both sides. On the other hand the film was slow and uncompelling from the beginning. The characters that were compelling were not developed. The film is interesting, but does not hold your attention and it's tempting to walk out. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
MontyDec 9, 2005
Ambitious, multi-plotted drama tries to squeeze too much into a feature film format. This should have been a min-series. Its jumpiness doesn't allow for much depth or traction. See Kirk Honeycutt's review in the Hollywood Report, Ambitious, multi-plotted drama tries to squeeze too much into a feature film format. This should have been a min-series. Its jumpiness doesn't allow for much depth or traction. See Kirk Honeycutt's review in the Hollywood Report, above, for an accurate descirption of the film. One to watch on dvd perhaps but not a night out.. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
AmurabiM.Jul 26, 2006
In this convoluted exercise of a political thriller, Stephen Gaghan repeats all its winning formula of "Traffic", telling the stories and paradoxes of the oil industry. The result: one of the most difficult films in history, a confusing tale In this convoluted exercise of a political thriller, Stephen Gaghan repeats all its winning formula of "Traffic", telling the stories and paradoxes of the oil industry. The result: one of the most difficult films in history, a confusing tale of politics, betrayals and economic and moral corruption. But the film, looks itself as complex narrative. For the audiences looking for entertainment, this movie fails entirely. As a political thriller, the result is just a mess. A well done mess, but, ultimately, a complicated, convoluted, arrogant, proved, ambitious and complex mess. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
JohnL.Sep 23, 2006
I'm giving this movie a 5 because I think its an important movie....That certainly doesn't make it very entertaining....This is a very boring movie but its a good movie, I know that doesn't really make any sense but its one of I'm giving this movie a 5 because I think its an important movie....That certainly doesn't make it very entertaining....This is a very boring movie but its a good movie, I know that doesn't really make any sense but its one of those movies you just have to see for yourself to truly judge what you think. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
JeffTDec 13, 2005
How much one likes this movie depends on your politcal views. As non-liberal I would say it's interesting, yet probably mostly the product of a liberal ranting and making things up as he goes along. Its a movie and just that....not truth.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
PeterRDec 14, 2005
I agree with it's politics. But the movie is not as smart as an episode of west wing, while emplying the same technique of dazzling us with too much information... The problem here is that it isn't as complex as it seems, it's I agree with it's politics. But the movie is not as smart as an episode of west wing, while emplying the same technique of dazzling us with too much information... The problem here is that it isn't as complex as it seems, it's actually corny. Actors, script, photographer are better than the direction, makes you realize how good soderberg is when thinking about traffic, which is a very similar movie with a much better director. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
PRicheyDec 14, 2005
I give it a 6 because it has two interesting plot lines (Geoge Clooney's and Matt Damon's) one semi-interesting one (the lawyer following the merger) and one plot line that should of just been removed from the movie (the laid off I give it a 6 because it has two interesting plot lines (Geoge Clooney's and Matt Damon's) one semi-interesting one (the lawyer following the merger) and one plot line that should of just been removed from the movie (the laid off worker). Everytime they went to the former oil worker's story I just wanted to get out of the theatre, the movie would of been sooo much better if they would of just cut out that whole story and dug a little deeper into the other storylines. Every scene at that school was just so boring and dull. On a positive note Matt Damon was awesome in this movie. It is a decent movie, but do expect it to drag EVERY SINGLE TIME they go to the laid off worker with one exception. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
JudyT.Dec 9, 2005
Suffers from slowness and too covoluted a story line, my husband fell asleep twice. It could have been a good political thriller if it hadn't been so obvious. I would hve like to see Jeffrey Wright get his due, top job, new house, Suffers from slowness and too covoluted a story line, my husband fell asleep twice. It could have been a good political thriller if it hadn't been so obvious. I would hve like to see Jeffrey Wright get his due, top job, new house, yacht, etc, etc. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
PaulB.Jan 16, 2006
I get a little frightened by people who think they are learning about how the world really is by going to see a movie. One reviewer here wrote "If you want to learn about the geo-politics of big oil without being talked down to, see this." I get a little frightened by people who think they are learning about how the world really is by going to see a movie. One reviewer here wrote "If you want to learn about the geo-politics of big oil without being talked down to, see this." However, if you're looking to educate yourself -- particularly about something as complex as geopolitics -- YOU DON'T GO TO THE MOVIES PEOPLE!! It's a movie, not real life. And even though it is "based upon" a book which is said to be true, no book gets through the Hollywood meat-grinder intact. Furthermore, I have worked in the oil industry my entire working life (33 years), and have traveled to every country mentioned in the movie and can testify that the oil industry portrayed in the movie is nothing like the oil industry in the real world. In the real world, there is more boring, hard work and less skullduggery. That being said, the movie is still interesting, particularly for its statement that terrorist masterminds don't actually get dirty themselves but, rather, recruit weaker-minded individuals, exploit the deprivation in their lives, then set them on a course to commit suicide for a bogus payoff after death. Too bad -- if the masterminds actually had the fortitude to kill themselves, they'd eventually solve the problem of their existence all by themselves. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
ConundrumJan 27, 2006
This movie is similar in structure to Traffic, as others have pointed out, but with the subject being the oil industry instead of drug smuggling. Both are well made, complicated, with many plots and characters, and look bleakly but This movie is similar in structure to Traffic, as others have pointed out, but with the subject being the oil industry instead of drug smuggling. Both are well made, complicated, with many plots and characters, and look bleakly but interestingly at an ugly part of our modern world. The big difference is that I felt an emotional connection and understanding of the characters in Traffic, but never felt any engagement with the characters in Syriana at all, just bewilderment. The result is a total emotional deflation, a lack of impact. To me this was a fatal flaw in what could have been a truly great movie. Take Bob, for instance, the guy played by Clooney. With his haunted look, he was intriguing. I really wanted to know more about him and his obvious inner torment. How did he get that way? What was his past? What were his motivations and opinions? Why was he still working? But we never find out anything. He's still a mystery at the end of the movie. And what exactly was the Jeffrey Wright character investigating, and for who, and why? Was he trying to block the merger, or promote it? I could cite many more examples. In fact, I could barely keep a lot of the people apart, let alone understand them, especially all the conniving white businessmen and lobbyists. I could "follow the plot", but I just didn't care. It's more a documentary than a movie. In the end, I give it a 6 rating because despite its obvious flaws, its still very well made and might be a consciousness-raiser for some people. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
DBJan 3, 2006
Of course, it makes absolutely ZERO sense; it's about as coherent as a pile of grey sand performing an abstract interpretive dance. The acting is good, and the script has a few choice politically charged monologues which the actors Of course, it makes absolutely ZERO sense; it's about as coherent as a pile of grey sand performing an abstract interpretive dance. The acting is good, and the script has a few choice politically charged monologues which the actors (obviously hungry for something remotely interesting to say) rip into like thespian wolves. The thing is, I don't mind at all when a movie (or play, or whatever) doesn't make sense. It actually makes things more interesting for me. I loved what I thought it was trying to say politically. The only problem is, most of the movie is simply a crashing bore. There isn't enough dramatic anything to make you want to keep concentrating, to keep immersing yourself in this convoluted mess. I think a lot of people take it's confusing nature to be a grand artistic statement, but when it's a first time writer and director at the helm, I think it's more likely just shoddy, pretentious filmmaking at it's most hollywood-friendly. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
RobertC.Jan 7, 2006
It's the kind of movie that impresses and affects, with excellent acting and direction. The major defect (and it is major unless you're watching on dvd and can replay scenes with regularity) is that it is impossible to follow the It's the kind of movie that impresses and affects, with excellent acting and direction. The major defect (and it is major unless you're watching on dvd and can replay scenes with regularity) is that it is impossible to follow the plot and character exposition for the first 90 minutes. Some reviewers might see that as a virture, At $8.50 a ticket, it is fairly frustrating. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
ElliottNov 24, 2005
It's excruciatingly convoluted and puzzling, though certainly a very interesting and provocative picture. It's an intriguing film, but after a while I got sick and tired of trying to comprehend what was happening on the screen. I It's excruciatingly convoluted and puzzling, though certainly a very interesting and provocative picture. It's an intriguing film, but after a while I got sick and tired of trying to comprehend what was happening on the screen. I may like it more after another viewing, but right now, I find it MUCH easier to admire the intentions of the picture than the picture itself. READ: great acting, a gripping soundtrack, intelligent direction and overall attractive formal compositions can't make up for a disorienting and ultimately grating screenplay. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
ARDec 11, 2005
This is a bore!!! It's boring. Did I mention how boring this movie is. It's agonizingly dull. The director, writer and editor seem to think that to show boredom, one has to film boredom. The movie is around 120 minutes long (I This is a bore!!! It's boring. Did I mention how boring this movie is. It's agonizingly dull. The director, writer and editor seem to think that to show boredom, one has to film boredom. The movie is around 120 minutes long (I know: I checked my watch about ten times). It spends that 120 minutes in a perpetual "setup" that could have and should have taken 20 minutes. Several people left. I asked my wife if we could leave several times. George Clooney gained 35 lbs. For what? He wasn't in the movie all that much. Neither was Matt Damon (Maaatttt Daaaamon). And HIS story line was the best!!! It seems that every piece of footage this director filmed thought it was so "Artistic" and "Profound" that it couldn't be left out of the story; it redefines "self-indulgence". There is five minute after five minute after five minute of "these" characters settting the stage for "that" character. And the dialog is so dull, so slow. The concept was interesting. The execution was terrible. What a snooze. And "professional" critics actually like and recommend this? In the movie, they talk about how the Chinese Gov't tortures members of Falun Gong. Well, "Syriana" is how Hollywood tortues movie goers. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
DanielJ.Dec 10, 2005
I still have mixed feelings about this very powerful film. It's really a work seeking to address an imbalance, which means it's pure agenda. The imbalance it seeks to address is the limits of our myopic worldview in the west (or I still have mixed feelings about this very powerful film. It's really a work seeking to address an imbalance, which means it's pure agenda. The imbalance it seeks to address is the limits of our myopic worldview in the west (or anywhere for that matter). What this film does is give a westerner like me just the slightest inkling of the rage and frustration of an all-powerful foreign power interfering in its affairs as well as the humiliation and desperation that the poor feel, specifically here, in the arab world, and how that makes them susceptible to radicalization. It is exceedingly cynical. However it Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
miker.Dec 12, 2005
I am not unsympathetic to the position this movie takes that big oil and the politicans it employs are recking havoc with the world politic ultimately with dire consequences to our own country in the future, but the structure of the story, I am not unsympathetic to the position this movie takes that big oil and the politicans it employs are recking havoc with the world politic ultimately with dire consequences to our own country in the future, but the structure of the story, for such a complicated and complex movie, like this sentence, left me in the dark too long. Movies should not be term papers. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
statikdogDec 21, 2005
Utterly confusing and often bland. Just because you make a move about important issues it doesn't mean it's a great movie. Maybe I should've brought Dennis Miller along with me to explain what the Hell was going on.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
michaell.Dec 23, 2005
Huh? good acting, very interesting, but so disjointed and hard to follow....no dummy here, but you lost me.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
MikeE.Dec 31, 2005
Don't get out of your seat to get popcorn, or let your mind wander in the middle of the film. If you do, you're going to bo lost trying to tie all the loose ends together.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
JohnY.Jan 21, 2007
Extremely complicated plot. Too many storylines. Sloppy editing. Worst film I have seen in ages.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
MarkB.Dec 15, 2005
Writer-director Stephen Gaghan previously did the screenplay for Traffic, partly as an outgrowth of his substance-abusing days before becoming clean and sober, and the most impressive aspect of his work on Syriana is that two years of Writer-director Stephen Gaghan previously did the screenplay for Traffic, partly as an outgrowth of his substance-abusing days before becoming clean and sober, and the most impressive aspect of his work on Syriana is that two years of researching Big Oil before writing this DIDN'T drive him back to drugs again! Gaghan attempts to do with the energy cartels what Traffic did with the worldwide drug trade, but it's missing one simple but crucial element: Steven Soderbergh as director. Soderbergh gained justifiable acclaim (and a Best Director Oscar) for making Gaghan's sprawling blend of three seperate storylines amazingly clear and viewer-friendly; Gaghan, helming this one, adds about 7 more plotlines and no end of confusion. The very distinct possibility that Gaghan is weaving this endlessly tangled web ON PURPOSE to demonstrate how complex Big Oli's grip on government (domestic and foreign), the economy, morality, life and death doesn't make his film any less annoying to watch; Gaghan's like a kid who lets you play with his gigantic jigsaw puzzle while watching you squirm because he deliberately hid several key pieces under the sofa cushions. Amazingly, he manages the impressive feat of being both serpentine and heavy-handed; his simple conclusion (if you didn't already guess it before buying your ticket) is that The Oil Industry Is Evil And All-Encompassing And There's Nothing You Can Do About It, Not Even Ride Your Bike To Work. (And if you manage to miss it, Tim Blake Nelson hammers it home with a speech about corruption that is extremely reminiscent of Michael Douglas' "Greed Is Good" monologue in Wall Street without at all making you forget how much more effective Oliver Stone's movie was.) I have nothing at all against blowing the whistle on Big Business, but unlike Robert Greenwald's current documentary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices, Syriana doesn't spur audiences to action, or behavioral change, or anything except hopelessness and doldrums. And at least Andrew Niccol's underrated Lord of War, which takes on international arms trade and draws most of the same cynical conclusions, very successfully uses Nicolas Cage's narration to draw you into its necessarily labyrinthine plot rather than pushing you away. Syriana DOES boast some very good performances, especially from Christopher Plummer, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet and especially George Clooney (and three cheers to him for, by putting on weight for both this and Good Night and Good Luck, demonstrating that movie good guys come in ALL shapes and sizes). And one of Gaghan's subplots is an intriguing and extremely offbeat (to Western viewers,anyway) view of Arab suicide bombers as otherwise rather likable, ordinary people whose deaths in the line of dubious duty inspire sympathy not as much for their victims as for the attackers themselves--what a shame that such nice kids have to die so early! Otherwise, the closest that Gaghan gets to coherently communicating his obviously deeply felt message about the sins committed by American oil companies is that sitting through this tangle is a perfect mirror of the frustration that many moviegoers felt earlier this year at the gas pumps! Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
JohnC.P.Dec 25, 2005
Clearly a very ambitious movie. It's not an action movie, nor is it exactly a thriller movie (it certainly wasn't rewarding in that sense), which means that the movie has to succeed on getting across its message. The movie does Clearly a very ambitious movie. It's not an action movie, nor is it exactly a thriller movie (it certainly wasn't rewarding in that sense), which means that the movie has to succeed on getting across its message. The movie does raise many important and valid issues, but in the end, I was left thinking, "Yeah, great, but I already knew that. Show me new stuff or force me to think about old stuff in ways I haven't before." And the movie failed in that regard. For all the mental hoops the movie makes you jump through, I expected more. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
TokyochuchuSep 18, 2013
Syriana is an interesting political movie that deals with government and oil company corruption. The scenery and atmosphere of the movie is eye catching, as Matt Damon notes when cruising through the Iranian dessert; "It's beautiful outSyriana is an interesting political movie that deals with government and oil company corruption. The scenery and atmosphere of the movie is eye catching, as Matt Damon notes when cruising through the Iranian dessert; "It's beautiful out here." Interesting as it is, the film is also overly convoluted but strangely without much character depth. There are also a few things that don't make sense (why exactly is George Clooney flagging down that car car at the end of the movie!?). Overall, Syriana was a decent night's entertainment but also smells slightly of missed opportunity. Expand
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4
beingryanjudeSep 1, 2014
Syriana is not your everyday thriller in the Middle East. It's often intellectual and thought-provoking. Nevertheless, I found little interest beyond George Clooney--who barely held lead status.
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5
SpangleDec 25, 2014
Syriana is ultimately a mixed bag. On the positive, it is extremely well shot. I really loved the look and feel of this film and that is ultimately the thing that stood out most to me. The script from Stephen Gaghan is also very strong andSyriana is ultimately a mixed bag. On the positive, it is extremely well shot. I really loved the look and feel of this film and that is ultimately the thing that stood out most to me. The script from Stephen Gaghan is also very strong and well written, though complicated. However, it has its moments of brilliance and has very tight dialogue throughout. The casting is also very good as everybody really fit the roles they were cast in well. Finally, it certainly had a great ending packed with thrills that made build up worth it and allowed some insight into what had just transpired over the last two hours. Sadly, there are some major negatives. Firstly, the multiple storylines are interesting and enjoyable, but it stifles the acting of the great cast. Phenomenally cast, nobody is able to standout as they are barely there, so nobody has time to establish their performance. In addition, it can really slow down at times and get boring. Like, really boring. There are moments that really hook you in, but others that nearly put you to sleep, which is a problem. Most importantly, I felt like it was trying too hard to make its audience confused. I like the idea that it was purposeful, but there was very little to latch onto. Ultimately, Syriana is a very well made film with moments of brilliance that falters for the same reasons that make it good. Expand
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