Hmmm...these video reviews are becoming a trend here...
I liked Syriana a lot but then I think anybody in the blogosphere who is deeply immersed into foreign affairs would like it far more than someone who is not. The staccato shifting from one character to the next, each from fairly complicated contexts, demands a fairly high level of background knowledge to catch, much less critique, all of the fast-moving nuances.
For example, Matt Damon's energy analyst character, starstruck by the ambitious, reformist, Arab prince who befriends him, in one scene is babbling on his cell about the prince whom he said "...could be like another Ataturk or a Faisal ". Well, I'm not certain if the screenwriter was portraying Damon's character as a naive, young, American buffoon ( if so, it worked) or if he did not know himself, but the juxtaposition would probably have irritated Kemal Ataturk and certainly horrified King Faisal.
There is a large number of little details along those lines in many contexts which creates a fair degree of realism and kept me engaged. Mrs. Zenpundit, whose interest in such political matters is less pronounced, found the story somewhat hard to follow. You must also allow, of course, for some archetypal Hollywood hype regarding the CIA and Big Oil, including a few bits of gratuitously irrelevant, somewhat moronic, leftism relating to supply-side economics and Milton Friedman. However there is not enough of this silliness to detract from the rest of the film. Three and a half stars ( Why not four ? My objection relates to part of the ending scene which is bad form to give away for those who have yet to see the film).Collounsbury
, who has his pulse on the MENA side of things, also reviewed Syriana
when it came out, at some length.