My Rating: 4.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “A heavily phenomenal political jigsaw!”
Stephen Gaghan, who won an Oscar for best screenplay for TRAFFIC, makes his directorial debut with SYRIANA, an espionage thriller set in the Middle East. George Clooney stars as Bob Barnes, a longtime CIA agent preparing to slow down his life and spend more time with his teenage son (Max Minghella). But his last secret mission, getting rid of Prince Nasir (Alexander Siddig), turns out to be more complicated than he imagined, placing him in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy involving government corruption, oil, and international terrorism.
Matt Damon, who starred with Clooney in OCEAN’S ELEVEN and OCEAN’S TWELVE (and made a cameo in Clooney’s CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND, which was also about spies and conspiracies), plays Bryan Woodman, an energy executive whose ethics become vulnerable after the horrific loss of one of his sons. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., lawyers Bennett Holiday (Jeffrey Wright) and Dean Whiting (Christopher Plummer) also must choose between the government’s special interests and what’s best for the world (as well as their own special interests).
Gaghan gives SYRIANA a documentary-like feel, using handheld cameras and shooting on location, adding to the believability of the complex plot. To heighten the realism, Clooney learned to speak Arabic and even put on 30 pounds for the role. A fast-paced, heart-pounding, relentless film, SYRIANA was inspired by the true story of former CIA agent Robert Baer, told in his book SEE NO EVIL: THE TRUE STORY OF A GROUND SOLDIER IN THE CIA’S WAR ON TERRORISM.