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Syriana (2005)

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

Director:

Stephen Gaghan

Writers:

Stephen Gaghan, Robert Baer (book)
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Popularity
3,473 ( 335)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kayvan Novak ... Arash
George Clooney ... Bob Barnes
Amr Waked ... Mohammed Sheik Agiza
Christopher Plummer ... Dean Whiting
Jeffrey Wright ... Bennett Holiday
Chris Cooper ... Jimmy Pope
Robert Foxworth ... Tommy Barton
Nicky Henson ... Sydney Hewitt
Nicholas Art Nicholas Art ... Riley Woodman
Matt Damon ... Bryan Woodman
Amanda Peet ... Julie Woodman
Steven Hinkle ... Max Woodman
Daisy Tormé ... Rebecca
Peter Gerety ... Leland Janus
Richard Lintern ... Bryan's Boss
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Storyline

American oil companies Connex and smaller Killen are undergoing a merger, the new company named Connex-Killen. The move is in response to Connex losing a number of oil fields in the Persian Gulf region as Prince Nasir Al-Subaai, his country's foreign minister, and the oldest son of the Emir and thus the heir apparent to the throne, signed a contract with the Chinese instead. As Killen somehow managed to get the contract for the oil fields in Kazahkstan, the merger would give Connex-Killen additional control of the industry in the Middle East. Connex's retained law firm, headed by Dean Whiting, assigns Bennett Holiday to demonstrate to the US Department of Justice that due diligence has been done to allow the merger to proceed i.e. that the merger would not break any antitrust regulations. The US government is unhappy with Prince Nasir's decision to award the contract to the Chinese, and in combination with issues around illegal weapons, the CIA assigns field agent Bob Barnes, who has ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everything is connected

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Language:

English | Urdu | Arabic | Persian | French | Mandarin

Release Date:

9 December 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

See No Evil See more »

Filming Locations:

Annapolis, Maryland, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$374,502, 27 November 2005

Gross USA:

$50,824,620

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$93,974,620
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Syriana is a term used by Washington think-tanks to describe a hypothetical re-shaping of the Middle East. See more »

Goofs

When Bob is in the hotel elevator in Beirut with Price Nasir, the camera's lens is reflected in the elevator's mirror edge. 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

Featured in 9/11: 15 Years of Lies An Cover-up (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Train
(1983)
from The Outsiders (1983)
Written by Carmine Coppola
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Politics of the Middle East 101 - artfully presented
13 May 2007 | by mstomasoSee all my reviews

I torture-tested Syriana - watched it twice over the course of two days. Why? Because I had read that it was a complex film and that it might require two viewings to really get it. After my second viewing, all that I can say is that this film does not live up to its reputation in terms of complexity, and does not treat its subject matter with the reputed depth people seem so willing to ascribe to it. Seems to me that the film introduces the complexity of Middle East/U.S. relations, but doesn't really indicate how deep the rabbit hole goes. I did not learn much from it, but unlike most Hollywood political films, I did not disagree with it either. Despite these comments - which were not meant to be critical - Syriana is a very serious and very good film. In my opinion it is less a thriller and more of a political drama.

Clooney plays Bob Barnes, a CIA field operative who is beginning to develop a conscience. Damon plays a financial analyst who, after the death of his eldest son, becomes adviser and friend to a smart reformist prince (Siddig). Jeffrey Wright gives an outstanding performance as a smart, aggressive attorney preparing for a merger between two oil companies by investigating their dealings in the region very critically. A young man (Amr Waked) and his father are deported from Iran because of a change in ownership at the refinery they worked in, and the young man begins to be drawn toward Islamic fundamentalism. These, and other stories, intertwine and eventually merge explosively.

Although Syriana is not a happy go-lucky walk in the park Disney show, I found it just as interesting and compelling the second time around. This speaks very highly for the films artistry and the performances of the entire cast. Clooney and Daman are always good, but both shine especially nicely in the less mainstream roles they brought to life in Syriana. This film (or the mediocre Kingdom of Heaven) should be a long overdue breakthrough for the great Alex Siddig (Siddig Al Fadil). The cast is a long list of some of Hollywood's brightest (if not most well paid) stars. Each member of the ensemble plays their part very well, and with obvious conviction.

The soundtrack is great! Gaghan's script is excellent, and the cinematography and directing are both good, though perhaps a little derivative of Traffic. Gahgan is establishing himself as one of more objective and well-informed script writers of films with political points, and I am glad to see that he is handling this difficult role with the passion, artistry and intellect it requires.


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