JOBLO'S MOVIE REVIEWS

SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Syriana (2005)
star Printer-Friendly version
Review Date: January 06, 2006
Director: Stephen Gaghan
Writer: Stephen Gaghan
Producers: Jennifer Fox, Michael Nozik, Michael Nozik
Actors:
George Clooney as Bob
Matt Damon as Bryan
Jeffrey Wright as Bennett
Plot:
Wow, I wish I knew. Okay, let me try to explain it anyway. This movie revolves around a whole bunch of people from the U.S. and the Middle East, including underground American operatives and lawyers, all the way to a bunch of really rich Saudi royals, disenfranchised Pakistani…and Amanda Peet. In there somewhere is supposed to be a coherent plot of some kind, but for the life of me, I just couldn’t find it. If you can…more power to you!
Critique:
I haven’t used this phrase too often in my reviews this year, so allow me to brush some cobwebs from it and integrate it into this film’s review, as it is likely the most deserving of the honor of “most overrated movie of the year”. That’s right, critics seem to have universally praised this flick, along with that other overrated film of the year THE CONSTANT GARDENER, but I’m not afraid to say that I just don’t get what all the fuss is about. Now either this film was too smart for me or a little too dumb – in the sense that it wasn’t able to get any of its points across to someone of average intelligence like myself. Maybe this film was created for only those dilettantes, politicians and pundits, most of whom I assume will understand what the heck anybody in this movie is talking about, but I for one, your regular every day movie fan…well, I simply didn’t understand most of what anyone was saying or doing in this film, and after a while, I honestly didn’t care! Comparisons to Steven Soderbergh’s 2000 TRAFFIC are also ridiculous, as other than the superficial similarity between the two films’ styles (several stories involving many characters all overlapping and eventually somehow connecting), they have little in common as that one actually featured interesting characters, understandable plotlines and yeah, get this…well-formulated messages behind all of its jabbering.

This film seems to want to say a lot of things, but never really comes out and says much of it, so it’s up to the learned viewer to sit there, with plenty of workbooks, an encyclopedia and a trusty political science student by their side, to attempt to de-puzzle all of what writer/director Stephen Gaghan is attempting NOT to tell us. For me, I just got tired of it. I don’t mind waiting half an hour or even a full hour (like this film) before anything starts to make any sense in a movie, but you know what…it should start to make sense after that, and other than a few connections, a couple of conclusions during the film’s final 10 minutes, some basic points (there’s corruption in the oil industry, whoopdee-shit), I didn’t appreciate much of what was played out in this film and for a movie watcher, a movie-fan…well, that just plain sucks. Famed film critic Roger Ebert adored this movie, even though even he claimed not to have understood it all, and although I certainly respect anyone’s opinion to that, I need a little more out of a movie myself, especially one that features a very interesting topic, plenty of capable actors (kudos to George Clooney for his performance here) and seemingly interesting dialogue and directing. It all looked and felt good and authentic, but it ultimately left me feeling empty and angry inside. Not angry at the film’s message, but angry at its makers for not creating something more digestible to the layman – and by that, I’m not asking them to “dumb it down”, but rather, “crank up”…its coherence!

PS: Oh, and if anyone can tell me what the shit SYRIANA means…drop me a line, will ya?
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

3:08PM on 02/12/2006
Was I the only one who was completely asleep by the middle of the movie? Because for a good time there it seemed like "Syriana" wasn't going anywhere. Here's how I'm going to break this film down: The beggining, the middle and the end. The beggining was interesting and got you into the movie. Then the movie started going off trail in the middle, and before I knew it I could barely pay attention anymore. Luckily, at the end it got a little better, giving us a few suspenseful moments.

For the
Was I the only one who was completely asleep by the middle of the movie? Because for a good time there it seemed like "Syriana" wasn't going anywhere. Here's how I'm going to break this film down: The beggining, the middle and the end. The beggining was interesting and got you into the movie. Then the movie started going off trail in the middle, and before I knew it I could barely pay attention anymore. Luckily, at the end it got a little better, giving us a few suspenseful moments.

For the acting, I don't think George Clooney deserved the Golden Globe for best supporting actor. He was pretty good, but not 'globe' worthy. I though Matt Damon was a little better, but still not groundbreaking or nothing.

All in all, "Syriana" isn't worth your 10 bucks in theaters, but you might wanna give it a shot at Blockbuster for 5 bucks.
Your Reply:



8:39PM on 01/08/2006

wtf?

Once again Joblo, me and you agree compltely.

This film really just flew over me. Some things I got, but a lot of the things they were talking about just started to become to much for me to comprehend. Especially with so many different characters and so many switches in scenes from place to place; character to character.

Becauase of being too complicated, which made it mostly boring, I'm going to give Syriana a 5/10. It was interesting at times, but not enough.
Once again Joblo, me and you agree compltely.

This film really just flew over me. Some things I got, but a lot of the things they were talking about just started to become to much for me to comprehend. Especially with so many different characters and so many switches in scenes from place to place; character to character.

Becauase of being too complicated, which made it mostly boring, I'm going to give Syriana a 5/10. It was interesting at times, but not enough.
Your Reply:



10:58AM on 01/06/2006
I thought the movie was perfect! Loved the cast, loved the script, and I could understand most of what they were saying.
I think you all have to understand what the target audience the director made this movie for. He OBVIOUSLY didn't think this would be anyone's cup of tea. He probably knew it would be hard for some to understand, while others not so.

This is just like any other movie with a target audience. Pick up the latest kiddie flick or silly teen drama, and you wonder wtf these
I thought the movie was perfect! Loved the cast, loved the script, and I could understand most of what they were saying.
I think you all have to understand what the target audience the director made this movie for. He OBVIOUSLY didn't think this would be anyone's cup of tea. He probably knew it would be hard for some to understand, while others not so.

This is just like any other movie with a target audience. Pick up the latest kiddie flick or silly teen drama, and you wonder wtf these people were thinking, or how they can be so stupid. But keep in mind the target audience people!

Movies are not made for everyone (this should be obvious to anyone), and don't let a movie insult your intelligence just because you didn't understand it. If you feel that you are wrongly embarressed or insulted for watching a movie, ask for your money back at the theatres.
Your Reply:



10:18AM on 01/06/2006

SyrianaThis

Drew here - There were elements I liked in this movie, however I have to agree with Jo; the movie was overly confusing even for someone as politically inclined as myself. It also "preached to the converted" so to speak. Most people know or have theories about government and oil. I also think the movie's downside is that it shuffled way too many characters for its own good. If it followed just Cloony and say Damond, it may have made more sense. At the end of the day, SYRIANNA was decent but
Drew here - There were elements I liked in this movie, however I have to agree with Jo; the movie was overly confusing even for someone as politically inclined as myself. It also "preached to the converted" so to speak. Most people know or have theories about government and oil. I also think the movie's downside is that it shuffled way too many characters for its own good. If it followed just Cloony and say Damond, it may have made more sense. At the end of the day, SYRIANNA was decent but may be hard pressed to find a widespread audience.
Your Reply:



7:53AM on 01/06/2006

A Brilliant Film!

Not only is Syriana one of the best films of 2005 but it could very possibly be one of the most important films of the decade! I did not find it boring at all. I was captivated till the end. But I guess if you're the type to prefer the more comercial, "escapist" films, like the ones with giant apes that fall in love with blondes, or films with grown men wearing leather bondage bat costume, then you'll probably need to stay away from this one.

On a side note, I like how some people use
Not only is Syriana one of the best films of 2005 but it could very possibly be one of the most important films of the decade! I did not find it boring at all. I was captivated till the end. But I guess if you're the type to prefer the more comercial, "escapist" films, like the ones with giant apes that fall in love with blondes, or films with grown men wearing leather bondage bat costume, then you'll probably need to stay away from this one.

On a side note, I like how some people use the word "intellectual" as an insult. That's hilarious.

Peace...
Your Reply:



7:14AM on 01/06/2006
I guess my biggest problem with this movie is that I just didn't get it. I'm not too wise in the ways of the oil industry and the goings-on thereabouts; I was kind of hoping that I could learn a thing or two about by watching this movie . . . . . . nope. I got what George Clooney's character was doing, what Matt Damon was doing, and some of the other characters - I got their role in the movie; I just didn't understand what they had to do with each other and the price of tea in china (or should
I guess my biggest problem with this movie is that I just didn't get it. I'm not too wise in the ways of the oil industry and the goings-on thereabouts; I was kind of hoping that I could learn a thing or two about by watching this movie . . . . . . nope. I got what George Clooney's character was doing, what Matt Damon was doing, and some of the other characters - I got their role in the movie; I just didn't understand what they had to do with each other and the price of tea in china (or should I say the price of oil ). I still don't get what one guy was doing in the movie - investigating a merger of two oil companies, but what happened in the end is still a mystery to me.

I'm not saying that this is a bad movie, but for me, it's just not my kind of movie. It's a heavy political movie with little else to offer. The acting is excellent, the direction is topnotch, but the story is complex and there are a lot of characters to follow. As soon as I got used to all of them, I had to remember where I saw them in the movie.

But like I said, the acting is great. I liked the storylines of Clooney's and Damon's character; the Iranian prince was great as well. There was a lot of drama, little suspense, and just too many characters to remember - especially in the Chris Cooper & Jeffery Wright storyline. I guess the familiar faces (and I know a lot of faces in movies - mind you) helped me follow along with the characters. -And though I was interested in the terrorist-to-be story, I don't see how it had to do with the overall story.

Like I said, I believe the main reason that I didn't like this movie a whole hell of a lot was just because I didn't understand a whole lot about the subject matter. I was hoping for a little lesson about it, but didn't get much of it. If you like great acting, politically charged movies, and good directing - than this is the movie for you. Be warned that there are a lot of characters with different storylines that don't intertwine much. It's just a very difficult movie to follow.
Your Reply:



5:54AM on 01/06/2006

I'd rather watch CNN

"Syriana" left me with nothing more than that I can get from CNN. It was an indictment of U.S. interference in the Middle East regarding oil interests - and thats it. As many have mentioned, the film goes at a very fast pace, spewing political jargon that makes little sense to the audience. Even when something starts to make sense, the film moves so quickly with more and more confusing situations that one never has the time to digest whats going on!

But this wasnt the biggest problem. The
"Syriana" left me with nothing more than that I can get from CNN. It was an indictment of U.S. interference in the Middle East regarding oil interests - and thats it. As many have mentioned, the film goes at a very fast pace, spewing political jargon that makes little sense to the audience. Even when something starts to make sense, the film moves so quickly with more and more confusing situations that one never has the time to digest whats going on!

But this wasnt the biggest problem. The film just wasnt a good movie. The production was well made, but story itself is very weak, serving only to be a political commentary without first creating sympathetic characters. Actually the characters were just very weak. The acting was admirable, especially from George Cloony, but the characters were incidental to the purpose of the movie. Oil = bad. I was also somewhat disturbed by the ending that glorified terrorism. In the end it was clear that the message was that its impossible to merge a nation with an oil industry without corruption and unrest, but like I said, I can get that from CNN. What I expected from "Syriana" was a well drawn story with actual characters.
Your Reply:



5:52AM on 01/06/2006
Ok. On a second viewing I've started to get this movie and man do I feel stupid to have hated it THAT much. My only problem with the film now is the image of Hezb Allah as assassains and tortuerers. VERY solid film all in all. The ending was amazing and if George Clooney doesn't win that Oscar.. well..
Ok. On a second viewing I've started to get this movie and man do I feel stupid to have hated it THAT much. My only problem with the film now is the image of Hezb Allah as assassains and tortuerers. VERY solid film all in all. The ending was amazing and if George Clooney doesn't win that Oscar.. well..
Your Reply:



3:33AM on 01/06/2006
Yeah, overrated as hell.
I mean, not because I didn't understand something or anything (because I did, I guess), but just because it's bad as a movie. The end was kinda good, but besides that just boring and uninteresting.
People who love this "movie" are probably those who think they're cool and "oh so intellectual". Whatever.
Yeah, overrated as hell.
I mean, not because I didn't understand something or anything (because I did, I guess), but just because it's bad as a movie. The end was kinda good, but besides that just boring and uninteresting.
People who love this "movie" are probably those who think they're cool and "oh so intellectual". Whatever.
Your Reply:



3:03AM on 01/06/2006

Syriana

From the website :"While 'Syriana' is a very real term used by Washington think-tanks to describe a hypothetical reshaping of the Middle East, as our title it is used more abstractly. 'Syriana,' the concept - the fallacious dream that you can successfully remake nation-states in your own image - is a mirage..."
From the website :"While 'Syriana' is a very real term used by Washington think-tanks to describe a hypothetical reshaping of the Middle East, as our title it is used more abstractly. 'Syriana,' the concept - the fallacious dream that you can successfully remake nation-states in your own image - is a mirage..."
Your Reply:



JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!