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With Syriana, writer/director Stephen Gaghan tried to do for Big Oil what his script for Traffic did for drugs, i.e. use multiple story strands to tell a Big Picture story. It's not quite as successful as that earlier film though. The best strand by far is the Matt Damon/Alexander Siddig story about the son of an Emir who wants to do the right thing for his region, if the world will only let him. George Clooney's washed-out CIA operative holds our interest, but the film takes too long to make all the pieces fit, and the strand about corporate malfeasance, while it has some good lines, feels way too technical. This film needs the audience to focus, which isn't a bad thing, but I fear the picture being painted is too complex and often plays as a documentary before they put the voice-over on it.
Not exactly a plain and simple plot - the movie definately demands your undivided attention. But it is an intriguing story, the actors are great... worth watching, although I'll probably have to watch it one more time to pick up all the details.
It's really hard to follow, but once you grasp what's going on, it's got some powerful messages.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #521 in The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
This movie ranks #896 in TimeOut's 1000 Films to Change Your Life