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76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics What's this?

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7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 359 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: From writer/director Stephen Gaghan, winner of the Best Screenplay Academy Award for "Traffic," comes Syriana, a political thriller that unfolds against the intrigues and corruption of the global oil industry. From the players brokering back-room deals in Washington to the men toiling in theFrom writer/director Stephen Gaghan, winner of the Best Screenplay Academy Award for "Traffic," comes Syriana, a political thriller that unfolds against the intrigues and corruption of the global oil industry. From the players brokering back-room deals in Washington to the men toiling in the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, the film's multiple storylines weave together to illuminate the human consequences of the fierce pursuit of wealth and power. (Warner Bros.) Expand
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. What's so powerful about the film is the rich stories it tells and how it leads them like so many human tributaries to one black, bubbling source.
  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."
  4. 75
    Gaghan is attempting to cover so much ground in Syriana that the movie at times feels a little suffocating.
  5. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    75
    We can only hope that the time frame is meant to be sometime before 9/11, and not after. Either way, it's a troubling vision of how terrorism and "martyrdom" occur on both sides of this ghostly war, and is both perpetrated and facilitated by the very forces enlisted to stop it.
  6. Gaghan's a filmmaker for the gamer who doesn't need to have the plot follow a neat, linear path. Besides, you don't need to know precisely what's going on; no one else in the film does either. Which is Gaghan's point.
  7. It's hard to get swept away when you're struggling to figure out who's doing what to whom and why.

See all 40 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 40 out of 162
  1. Jun 1, 2012
    10
    As real as movies get to reality.
  2. 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 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
  3. 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 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. Expand
  4. 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 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
  5. Dec 25, 2014
    5
    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 isSyriana 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
  6. AR
    Dec 11, 2005
    4
    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 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
  7. ArnoldH.
    Dec 3, 2005
    0
    The most incoherent two hours in movie history. Stereotypes, not flesh and blood characters. Unconcving plot developments. A true must-miss.

See all 162 User Reviews

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