Syriana

SYRIANABB.5

(out of 5)


Stephen Gaghan, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Traffic, wants so much to make a film worthy of Steven Soderbergh’s drug-trade classic that he simply photocopies its cinematography and editing and hopes that the audience won’t notice the similarities. No one would notice, actually, if his screenplay were worthy of his earlier work, but Syriana is a muddled heap of brilliant moments lost among a decided lack of focus. Set in the world of the oil industry, it stars a superb as a CIA operative whose work in the Middle East gets him shafted by his superiors when he is no longer instrumental in furthering Washington’s goals for financial gain. plays an oil broker who partners up with a prince () looking to lead his family to a better partnership with the west,  (stunning as always) plays a corporate lawyer investigating a questionable merger between two oil corporations, and  plays a downtrodden Pakistani worker who turns to religious zeal when the power players above him make his survival a critical issue. Gaghan never connects the dots well enough, and the film still feels like it is setting itself up well past the halfway point. It would be admirable for political reasons, but everything here was already uncovered in Fahrenheit 9/11, and Michael Moore’s impolite storytelling technique was a lot more entertaining.


USA, 2005

Directed by

Screenplay by Stephen Gaghan, suggested by the book See No Evil: The True Story of A Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism by

Cinematography by

Produced by , ,

Music by 

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by


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Academy Award
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (George Clooney as “Bob Barnes”)

Nomination
Best Writing (Original Screenplay) (Stephen Gaghan)

Golden Globe Award
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (George Clooney)

Nomination
Best Original Score-Motion Picture (Alexandre Desplat)

National Board Of Review Awards
Best Adapted Screenplay (Stephen Gaghan)
Top Ten Films

Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (George Clooney)

Writers Guild Award Nomination
Best Adapted Screenplay

British Academy Award Nomination
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (George Clooney)

Boston Film Critics Award
Best Ensemble Cast


Syriana

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