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SYRIANA by Stephen Gaghan


Loosely based on former CIA operative Robert Baer’s memoirs ‘See No Evil’, SYRIANA tells the stories of a CIA operative (George Clooney), a trader (Matt Damon) and his wife (Amanda Peet) , a lawyer (Jeffrey Wright), and a young Pakistani (Mazhar Munir) and their connections to the merger of two oil companies. The plot is complex and not easily accessible – lawyers, bosses of oil companies, attorneys, CIA operatives, religious leaders and politicians make their more or less legal deals in offices, hotel rooms, mansions, quran schools or on board of motor yachts, while ordinary people like Clooney’s Bob, Matt Damon’s Bryan or Mazhar Munir’s Wasim just follow orders or try to make a living – without ever knowing what’s really going on around them.

SYRIANA is brilliant on many levels – first there is the acting, which is superb.
Secondly, SYRIANA captures the essence of what a film ought to be. When you buy a ticket for a movie, what you actually buy is a dream. Hollywood isn’t called the ‘dream factory’ for nothing – a film is really like a dream, and SYRIANA is exactly like that – slightly dazzling, episodic, based on reality. Like in a dream, not everything has to make sense, but you get that feeling what it’s all about.

And thirdly, when you wake up from the dream (when the film is over), you realize that you woke up in the very world you dreamed about. It doesn’t matter if every detail is ‘real’ or correct or makes sense to you. For some, it will shed a new light on what they hear in the news or see on TV, for others, it will be a confirmation of what they always knew, others will dismiss it as nonsense – but for everybody, there should be something to think about, which is more than can be said of many movies.

“Corruption? Corruption ain’t nothing more than government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulation. That’s Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around here instead of fighting each other for scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is how we win.”

“Not guilty until being investigated.”

One Response to “SYRIANA by Stephen Gaghan”

  1. itsvery Movie Review Blog - Independent Film Reviews » THE KINGDOM by Peter Berg Says:

    […] As an action film, The Kingdom is thoroughly solid and way better then the usual action fare, but if you are looking for a more politic movie, go to the DVD store and grab a copy of Syriana. […]

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