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Syriana (2005)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  9 December 2005 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 94,660 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 619 user | 359 critic | 40 from Metacritic.com

A politically-charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved and affected by it.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Nicky Henson ...
Sydney Hewitt
Nicholas Art ...
Riley Woodman
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Rebecca
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Leland Janus
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Bryan's Boss
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Storyline

A missile disappears in Iran, but the CIA has other problems: the heir to an Emirate gives an oil contract to China, cutting out a US company that promptly fires its immigrant workers and merges with a small firm that has landed a Kazakhstani oil contract. The Department of Justice suspects bribery, and the oil company's law firm finds a scapegoat. The CIA also needs one when its plot to kill the Emir-apparent fails. Agent Bob Barnes, the fall guy, sorts out the double cross. An American economist parlays the death of his son into a contract to advise the sheik the CIA wants dead. The jobless Pakistanis join a fundamentalist group. All roads start and end in the oil fields. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

oil | cia | oil company | emirate | pakistani | See more »

Taglines:

Everything is connected

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | | | |

Release Date:

9 December 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

See No Evil  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$75,781 (Hong Kong) (31 March 2006)

Gross:

$50,815,288 (USA) (14 April 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In two clever examples of parallelism in the script and dialogue, CIA staffer Fred Franks uses the phrase "Help me out here" in the film after it's been directed at him by his CIA supervisor, Terry. And the name "Jimmy" is one that Bob Barnes insists on using when he talks to Mussawi -who's offended by it - but it's a name that Killen CEO Jimmy Pope invites Bennett Holiday to use in addressing him. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the movie, when the woman changes her clothes and puts pants on, she also changes from high heels to sneakers. When she walks away, her shoes sound like high heels. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Arash: Bobby, where have you been?
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits after the title is shown. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Maltin on Movies: The American (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

The Yellow Rose of Texas
(uncredited)
Traditional American folk song
Instrumental heard when Janus receives award for Oilman of the Year
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
See no evil
6 January 2006 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

The interesting novel by Robert Baer seems to tell it all about "Syriana". It is a tale that is driven by the ambition of a few unscrupulous people who will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. In a way, Mr. Baer's novel as well as the film seems to be reaffirming Niccolo Machiavelli's "The ends justify the means"

Stephen Gaghan's first major directorial job presents the story in multiple settings running at the same time, which, for a great majority of the public will prove disorienting. Mr. Gaghan has adapted for the screen material like the one in "Syriana" before, so he wasn't a stranger working in that format.

What "Syriana" presents is a sort of rat race for the control of the oil in the Persian Golf, by whatever means necessary. Ultimately, the ones in control of that commodity will dominate the world. We are given about five different narratives in the film that interplay one another in the most unexpected ways. In fact, all these different subplots have a lot more in common than really meets the eye. One could almost recommend the viewing of the film a couple of times in order for all the different parts to come together in our minds and by doing so, the viewer will see the inner mechanisms of this intricate tale of corruption, greed and power.

The cast is enormous. There are a lot of different acting styles in the film. An almost unrecognizable George Clooney plays Bob Barnes, the CIA operative fallen from grace who is instrumental in set the story in motion and who reappears at the end at the climax of the action. Jeffrey Wright does a tremendous job as the lawyer who discovers the hidden mystery in a performance that is completely different from whatever he has done before in the screen. Matt Damon plays the ambitious young man who is at the top of his profession and can help Prince Nasir with his revolutionary views about changes in his country and the Arab world. Ultimately, Wasim, the poor Pakistani guest worker makes the case for the displaced youth of that world that is willing to go ahead and commit the ultimate sacrifice.

There are also good appearances by some seasoned actors that only appear shortly. Tim Blake Nelson, Chris Cooper, Jayne Atkinson, Akbar Kurtha, William Hurt, Christopher Plummer, Robert Foxworth and the rest are seen briefly.

Robert Elswit photographed the film in the different locations and makes it look better. The music score by Alexandre Desplat is heard in the background without interrupting the action. The editing by Tim Squires works well with the action. Stephen Gaghan shows he can do well working with Mr. Baer's material and made an interesting film that while it will irritate some viewers, on the whole he had the right idea in the way to tell this story.


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