AFTER tackling the international drugs trade with Traffic, writer/director Stephen Gaghan sets about the even more complex issues of the oil industry with his latest film, Syriana. Based very loosely on the memoirs of a CIA agent, Syriana weaves multiple
AFTER tackling the international drugs trade with Traffic, writer/director Stephen Gaghan sets about the even more complex issues of the oil industry with his latest film, Syriana.
Based very loosely on the memoirs of a CIA agent, Syriana weaves multiple strands and characters and builds them into a thriller somewhat in the style of the great conspiracy theory thrillers of the 1970s.
A bearded and out of shape George Clooney plays the CIA agent who is starting to become disillusioned with his work. Meanwhile a Gulf prince (Alexander Siddig) is trying to arrange things so his countrymen get more of the benefit of the nation's wealth, a lawyer (Jeffrey Wright) is embroiled in the merger of two oil giants, a ruthless broker (Matt Damon) is furthering his own ends and an unemployed youth is having his head turned by fundamentalism.
It's not that long a film at around the two hour mark but it crams an awful lot of story in. This is no simplistic Hollywood tale and it certainly takes some concentration to keep up.
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However, the performances are universally convincing, the story both intelligent and exciting, so all in all Syriana repays the effort it takes to watch it.
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