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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 355 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 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. 80
    A bleak and powerful movie, made all the more sobering by how much of it isn't fiction.
  4. Reserved yet still suspenseful and hugely ambitious, Syriana sets out to prove what many have come to suspect -- that oil money is the root of all contemporary evil.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Politically, Syriana is a card-carrying liberal, more in tune with Le Carre and Greene than with Clancy.
  6. 70
    A major film without being a great film. It's a strange movie, and a stunningly pessimistic one, and the strangeness and pessimism connect it to other recent American films in ways that suggest that something unhappy in the national mood has crept into the movies.
  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: 39 out of 160
  1. Jun 1, 2012
    As real as movies get to reality.
  2. gregj.
    Dec 17, 2005
    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
    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. RhettW.
    Dec 28, 2005
    George Clooney stands out. Highlight: Tim Blake Nelson's "Wall Street" like rant on how corruption is good for America.
  5. 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, yacht, etc, etc. Expand
  6. AR
    Dec 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 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
    The most incoherent two hours in movie history. Stereotypes, not flesh and blood characters. Unconcving plot developments. A true must-miss.

See all 160 User Reviews