Tuesday, March 28, 2006


If you were after action, gorgeous women or character development you've come to the wrong film. This is a political morality tale. It falls into the same category as "The Constant Gardener" but without that film's beautiful camera work. But it does try to make up for it in other ways. There is an attention to detail, how often do you see several overs of a cricket match in an American movie? Distinctions are made between Muslims from different countries, and not everyone speaks English.

Syriana deals with US oil business and politics through a large cast of stereotype, cardboard cut-out characters in four slowly converging story lines. The acting is competent, but as there are no meaty parts, there isn't a chance for any of the actors to shine, nor draw attention away from the political message. Normally such one-dimensional characters would be the sign of a poor film but here it works. The characters are not important, we are not meant to fall in love with them. The four story lines give you different views of the same events, though each is the story of peripheral character who through circumstances outside their control gets to see up close, an inside view of a small part of an oil deal.

What rescues Syriana from being a B-grade TV movie is the lack of exposition. You need to concentrate from the opening credits to figure out what is going on. It is refreshing not to be spoon-fed. Even so I didn't understand George Clooney's character's last action. Tell me if you can understand it.

I rate it a 3/5
Anne thought it was too slow and rates it 2.5/5

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