Reviewed by: Chris Monroe
What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
Tim Blake Nelson
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|Producer||Ben Cosgrove, George Clooney, Jennifer Fox|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Pictures|
“Everything is connected.”
From selling missiles in Tehran, to business propositions in Spain, to fat oil companies in Texas, to fatal decisions in Washington D.C., to the tragedy of the triumph of evil is some of the film “Syriana.” Adapted from Bob Baer’s book See No Evil: The True Story of a Foot Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism screenwriter Stephen Gaghan (“Traffic”) also steps into the role of director for this new film that is chalk full of politics, corruption, strained international relationships and images of instability in the Middle East. Much like the Academy Award winning film “Traffic” that deals with the war on drugs and Mexico, this film highlights the contemporary crisis of wars over oil and the Middle East.
With several story lines and what seems like countless subplots, figuring out how “everything is connected” (slug line) takes some work while watching this movie. The main plots deal with CIA operative Bob Barnes (George Clooney), oil broker Bryan Woodman (Matt Damon), corporate lawyer Bennett Holiday (Jeffrey Wright), and Prince Nasir Al-Subaai (Alexander Siddig)—all of whom are affected by an enormous business deal that will merge two companies, making them one of the largest in the world. Their agenda is to offer oil at a cheaper rate, but what happens in the process involves choices that oppose most morals and crush the purest essence of humanity.
This is a very busy story from beginning to end and hits on a lot of hot topics that may rile up anyone already impassioned about these ideas. There are elements of entertainment, but the set-up is rather lengthy and involved until we finally get to any kind of pay off. Still, the film does come full circle and make its point very clearly, albeit not a happy one by any means. This movie raises questions and concerns and points out many possible problems occurring in our world today, but at the same time offers only a small glimpse of anything hopeful.
It might help to know that this moviegoer at one point walked out of the movie due to a disturbing scene. It was not because of any moral issue or offense, but because the thought of what was happening in a torture scene was too much to handle and caused physical nausea. But after a few minute hiatus in the lobby, I was able to resume watching the rest of the film. Others in the audience were obviously reacting to this scene, too, but they must have all been okay since they did not have to leave. But if you think you may be troubled by watching somebody’s fingernails being pulled out, be prepared for that kind of scene in this movie.
Overall, the film is clean, but does use some foul language, including the f-word and taking God’s name in vain. There is no sex or nudity, but there is some violence and violent images. There is one upsetting scene and image, where a young boy drowns in a backyard pool.
Being a multi-faceted movie is not to say that it is not enjoyable or entertaining. The mystery of what is happening, and the suspense created throughout it all is one that kept me interested throughout the course of the film. It is very involved, but does offer something more challenging than typical movie fare. It also offers some insight as to how young Middle Eastern men can be caught up in fanatical beliefs and be willing to offer their lives in a suicide mission.
This is a better than average movie, but you may not agree with all of its politics. Whether you take the proposed ideas and scenarios as absolute fact or not can be a side issue, and you can instead notice the things that are presented as being valuable, namely: humanity and honesty.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Minor