Thursday, June 22, 2006


Syriana is a hot film about an explosive topic.

It would seem to be impossible to summarize the plot here, but let's just say quickly that it's all about oil. About how we're sucked in. About how it -- and our addictive need for it -- affects everything. Everything.

Some fearsome actors here, doing an incredible job. Clooney, of course. He put on 30 pounds in 30 days to play "Bob," an undercover operative who's seeing the end of his career -- due to cutbacks? due to his increasing awareness of what he's actually getting into?

Chris Cooper. How does Cooper look like an cutthroat killer when he played such a nice guy in Seabiscuit? He's amazing; his every move is a machine-gun burst of American macho.

Totally skipped in the praise is Matt Damon, who does a remarkable job, especially in his scenes with Alexander Siddig (Prince Nasir). Siddig is also outstanding.

It's admirable that the film tries a tricky balance, not blaming any one side, determined to tell the story of oil and its influence. In fact, the producers even employed a Republican to get policy straight.

The only criticism here is criticism oft-heard about Syriana, and that is that information is missing, the film is confusing. The deleted scenes on the DVD really help, as does Clooney's talk about why they made the film in the first place.

Syriana joins An Inconvenient Truth on a list of films that MUST be seen by today's consumer. Thumb's up.


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