Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

See No Evil

Syriana on IMDb

Plot Overview

businessmanWhen oil companies Connex and Killen agree to merge, their in-house counsel (“a lion”) Bennett Holiday (Jeffrey Wright) is tasked to investigate for improprieties that could torpedo State approval while they still have time for damage control. Intersecting plots include a radicalized immigrant Wasim Khan (Mazhar Munir) who lost his job to the merger, an energy analyst Bryan Woodman (Matt Damon) who gains the ear of progressive Prince Nasir Al-Subaai (Alexander Siddig) but at great personal cost, CIA operative Bob Barnes (George Clooney) who talks too much inviting sanction of the ultimate kind, and clueless functionaries who decide to eliminate the wrong prince.

is importantEach subplot is worthy of a movie in its own right, and “Syriana” succeeds with serious editing down to 2 hours and 8 minutes taking care not to let the viewers get too invested in any single plot line so they can follow the trans­itions with­out dwelling on what came earlier. There aren't any serious gaps in it, so we can fill our­selves in better by re-watching it, and if it's still murky, well, that's the way of real life machinations anyway.


poolside family(Prov. 30:15-16) “The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.” “Syriana” portrays demands (“Give, give”) on men, from both family and work. “The barren womb” keeps wanting to pop out children, and Woodman's wife Julie (Amanda Peet) had two of them, but they lost Max shark (Steven Hinkle) to a swimming accident in Marbella, Spain despite his father's valiant attempt at a rescue. Bob's son Robby (Max Minghella) didn't like his parents' over­seas postings to dull places. He wanted to go to Princeton, but his dad having Maryland residency suggested University of Maryland instead. The aged on their way to “the grave” make demands on their adult children. Wasim looked to cash in on martyrdom benefits to aid his out-of-work pop Saleem. Bennett Holiday Sr. (William C. Mitchell) was living with his son out of necessity while being barely tolerated.

planning“The fire that saith not, It is enough” here is all the world­wide machinery demanding an endless supply of oil (“Provided we don't start running auto­mobiles on water.”) In its original sense, we suppose it meant the gross human metabolism under­lying all those mouths that must be fed (“I want pig bacon.”) Bob sure contributed his pound of flesh (literally) to the cause. “The earth that is not filled with water” refers to our not being a water world, so we can write on the dry dirt. In this movie it was sand on which Woodman drew a diagram showing the prince how he can profit by piping his oil over­land. Deals were made and corruption was looked into (“Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets.”) A little baksheesh greases the wheels of commerce.

Production Values

” (2005) was written and directed by Stephen Gaghan. It was based on Robert Baer's book, See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism. The title Syriana is a nonce word signifying a fictitious Middle Eastern country employed in think tank geo-political games. It stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Amanda Peet. Also featured are Chris Cooper, William Hurt, Mazhar Munir, Tim Blake Nelson, Amanda Peet, Christopher Plummer, Alexander Siddig, Nicky Henson, Max Minghella, Thomas McCarthy, Viola Davis, William Charles Mitchell, Akbar Kurtha, Nadim Sawalha, Mark Strong, Kayvan Novak, and others. There's a lot of talent represented here but they seem to have been directed to not upstage one another allowing the audience to better piece it all together as a whole.

MPAA rated it R for violence and language. Countries of origin were the United States and United Arab Emirates. Filmed in Casablanca, Morocco. Languages spoken were English and (mostly subtitled): Urdu, Arabic, Persian, French, and Mandarin Chinese. The music and the editing brought out the best in it.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

Here is a technically well constructed artistic triumph for the intelligent viewer who wants some meat in the plot rather than just cheap thrills. The plot lines are all over the place but form a coherent whole. For sedate watching with some tension.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.