“"When A Country Has Five Percent Of The World's Population But Spends Fifty Percent Of The World's Military Spending, That Country's Persuasive Power Is In Decline." ”
Syriana has a lot of big, important things to say about big, important things, and it says them with a sense of urgency.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
A complex, intriguing narrative about oil, terrorism, money and power.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
There is a weird absence of both dramatic heat and political light here.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
Thought-provoking and unnerving, emotionally engaging and intellectually stimulating.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
What's so powerful about the film is the rich stories it tells and how it leads them like so many human tributaries to one black, bubbling source.
Desson Thomson - Washington Post
Intelligent, political, incensed, timely, and appropriately cynical.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
The movie may be too knowing for its own good, but it's not glib and it never goes cheesy.
J. Hoberman - Village Voice
The presence of George Clooney, Matt Damon and other fine actors helps you ignore your sense of descending ignorance as the movie unfolds. And the ending, when you think about it for a few days, does add up.
Jack Mathews - New York Daily News
Syriana is an ambitious edifice, built with conviction and skill. But I'm not sure I understand it, and I'm not sure I care.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
Mr. Gaghan doesn't insult our intelligence, but he demands our attention. If you're up to those demands, you'll be rewarded.
Philip Wuntch - Dallas Morning News
Syriana is a fascinating movie -- and a substantive and thought-provoking one -- but it does not necessarily attain greatness.
Michael Booth - Denver Post
As he did in Traffic, Gaghan intertwines his disparate subplots with impeccable pacing -- his screenplay is a model of how to arrange scenes so that each one ends leaving you wanting to know more.
Ken Tucker - New York Magazine
It's a strange movie, and a stunningly pessimistic one, and the strangeness and pessimism connect it (in my mind, at least) to other recent American films in ways that suggest that something unhappy in the national mood has crept into the movies.
David Denby - New Yorker
Syriana is an endlessly fascinating movie about oil and money, America and China, traders and spies, the Gulf States and Texas, reform and revenge, bribery and betrayal.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
The film's weary, politically wary vibe sticks with you.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
This is intelligent, committed, and politically provocative, though its narrative puzzle box may prompt you to throw up your hands and let ExxonMobil go on running the world.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
Untangle the Gordian knot at the heart of Syriana and you find a riveting drama of succession.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
Syriana is a caustic and cynical political thriller with a plot that occasionally confuses but a message that leaves no room for misinterpretation.
Jeff Strickler - Minneapolis Star Tribune
A purposely jagged and harsh news story of a film, Syriana attempts to take on the powers that run the world and for the most part it succeeds.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Your enjoyment of this movie will be in direct proportion to your patience. If you can stand not knowing everything right now and wait for the story's threads to weave into a rug, Syriana makes for an engaging time.
Bill Muller - Arizona Republic
Though never a fan of Mr. Clooney onscreen, I doff my hat to him for checking his vanity at the door and trying to make movies with more significance than the weekend grosses in Variety.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
One can say of Mr. Gaghan, Mr. Soderbergh and Mr. Clooney that their heads may be in the right place in Syriana, but their hearts are not much in evidence as far as any emotional investment in their characters is concerned.
Andrew Sarris - New York Observer
The richness of detail is immense.
Todd McCarthy - Variety
Hugely ambitious, excellently acted and very challenging.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Syriana is complex, engrossing, involving and depressing. Difficult to absorb, it is also difficult to accept, and it is one of the best films of 2005.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
It leaves us gasping for air, scratching our heads and wondering if we've seen something truly important or something that just thinks it is. But at least it leaves us thinking.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Syriana isn't the perfect guide, but its torch probes the darkness further than most and shines brightly enough that blindness can no longer can be our excuse.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
It's entirely possible that Gaghan just isn't an actor's director.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
It's a wake-up call. In today's environment, it's a rare thing to find a movie with interesting characters in dense, intelligent storylines, but that's what Syriana offers.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
What Syriana feels like is a television miniseries condensed into two hours.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
[A]n engrossing, insider's tour of the world's hottest spots, grandest schemes and most dangerous men.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
No dry civics lesson, this fighting-mad film isn't just hot, it's incendiary. And no one gets off the hook. You see it with the exhilarating feeling that a movie can make a difference.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
A fearless and ambitious piece of work, made with equal parts passion and calculation, an unapologetically entertaining major studio release with compelling real-world relevance, a film that takes numerous risks and thrives on them all.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
- Sight and Sound
Scott A. Mantz - Scott Mantz' Movie Reviews
A skeleton of theme minus the meat of resonance
Fernando F. Croce - CinePassion
A film that treats its audience as adults, this is an extremely rewarding work that handsomely pays off the concentration required to watch it.
James Mottram - Film4
Brian Marder - Hollywood.com
You didn't understand all of it? It went by too fast to take it all in? There was too much information to mentally digest? Yeah, well, that was kind of the point.
Brandon Fibbs - BrandonFibbs.com
Its dark, dog-eat-dog vision of the world we live in may give you geopolitical nightmares.
David Ansen - Newsweek
Probes a significant subject but treats its people as mere stick figures carrying exposition from place to place.
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
Evidently, such matters of thematic coherence, so well explored by Gaghan in Traffic, were not as important to him this time around, and it's a mistake.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out New York
Preferring probing questions to pat solutions, the film drills deep in its exploration of the US's ventures, both economic and military, in the Middle East.
Anton Bitel - Eye for Film
The most troublesome part of Syriana is that the movie is, in fact, so easy to believe.
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
Gaghan kapitulira pred holivudskim konvencijama te film zaklju%u010Duje spektakularnom, ali banalnom i krajnje neuvjerljivom zavr%u0161nicom
Dragan Antulov - Index.hr
Politically-paranoid, if well-intentioned, this disjointed message movie doesn't really do much more than indict the usual suspects.
Kam Williams - Upstage Magazine
In addition to the performances there's a wealth of memorable detail.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
This is neither realism nor tragedy. It's cynicism, which exposes itself most nakedly in Damon's addresses to the Arab characters, and in Gaghan's own portrayal of them.
Stuart Klawans - Nation
Stuart Klawans - The Nation
Interesting and worth watching, despite the fact that complete comprehension of the film seems just beyond the reach of the viewer.
Russ Breimeier - Christianity Today
The disorientation is purely cosmetic.
Ryan Gilbey - Sight and Sound
[K]eeps you on a teeter-totter of emotion... it leaves you with a sense of falling that is entirely unsettling.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Syriana really makes viewers work to try to understand the complexities involved in protecting (or resisting) U.S. interests in the Middle East.
James Plath - Reel.com
If there is any lesson the makers of Syriana want us to absorb, it is that we should trust no one where power and money are concerned.
John J. Puccio - DVDTown.com
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
No one-sentence synopsis is possible, but here's a stab: A bunch of people, played by George Clooney, Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright, Christopher Plummer and others, stalk around looking serious and doing stuff.
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
Matt McAllister - Future Movies UK
Demanding, even confusing at times, this is required viewing that requires your full attention.
Colin Kennedy - Empire Magazine
Joe Utichi - FilmFocus
Un tenso e interesante thriller politico, si bien abrumador y por momentos confuso, sobre tema actual, con destacada labor de George Clooney.
Enrique Buchichio - Uruguay Total
[Syriana] fulfils all the key criteria of a decent political thriller - it'll make you angry, it'll make you think and it'll scare the hell out of you.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Gaghan piles one storyline on another but is only interested in suggesting where they trend, working like a (cynical) editorialist who has made up a few examples to support his views.
Alan Dale - Blogcritics.org
Adept at delivering macro and micro perspectives without moralism or conviction.
Mark Sells - Oregon Herald
You'll come away exhausted, but also exhilarated.
Matthew Leyland - BBC
Kamal 'The Diva' Larsuel - 3BlackChicks Review
Syriana is a terrific movie, sprawling in its story, chilling in its implications, but you may need a whiteboard and marker to follow it.
Paul Byrnes - Sydney Morning Herald
This is a film that warrants your attention. A potent and intelligent film that informs as well as entertains, Syriana is the starting point for an intense and lengthy conversation.
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
Longe de representar uma experiencia emocional, o longa exige dedicacao ao espectador - e se voce estiver disposto(a) a mergulhar na discussao sera fartamente recompensado(a).
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
A well-meaning, yet meandering and confusing political thriller.
Collin Souter - eFilmCritic.com
Stephen Gaghan signe une %u0153uvre necessaire qui arrive au bon moment pour agrementer un debat sans que cela ne paraisse trop opportuniste.
Jean-Francois Vandeuren - Panorama
Oil, war, global capitalism -- it's just not simple. It is by nature hard to understand. This picture gives you a sense of that complexity while it compels. Nice work.
Ross Anthony - Hollywood Report Card
A bleak and powerful movie, made all the more sobering by how much of it isn't fiction.
Pete Vonder Haar - Film Threat
I'm not afraid to say that I just don't get what all the fuss is about.
JoBlo - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Syriana impresses, not because it is very moving, which it isn't, or because it is crystal clear, which it also isn't, but because it is so large, so encompassing, so seemingly privy to inside stuff.
Stanley Kauffmann - New Republic
Stanley Kauffmann - The New Republic
If you want a movie that answers all your questions, try "Revenge of the Sith." If you want a movie that questions all your answers, try this one.
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
A potent legend of modern international relations.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
Syriana demands patience to see how the pieces come together in a fascinating mosaic of politics, capitalism, and corruption.
Mark Pfeiffer - Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Didactic and muddled to the point of incoherence.
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
Syriana reminds us that movies can be about ideas and that the challenge of a complex plot can be invigorating ...
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
It falls short of its high goals, but achieves much more than less ambitious films.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
The movie's shaky cam visuals appropriate the look of nightly news reports, and that's symptomatic of Gaghan's failure to give his polemic a soul.
Mark Palermo - Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
I did not understand a good deal of this film, and as a result, I found it nearly impossible to get engaged with the elements I did understand and I was unsurprised by many of the revelations purportedly sprung by this movie.
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
There are few movies released by major studios these days possessed with as much intelligence and purpose as Gaghan's.
Todd Gilchrist - IGN Movies
The film throws so much information at you so quickly and so relentlessly that it's easy to become overwhelmed and confused.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
The cinematic equivalent of a sound bite.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
The film spooks you: you have to give it that, and it makes a powerful case, if only by default, that we've already lost our mutual endgame with capital and treachery.
Nick Davis - Nick's Flick Picks
Overly ambitious and too complicated.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
In movies I am always holding out for a hero. In this one, none appeared.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
Rips its motivations from the front pages of our daily newspapers, blurring the line between reality and fiction with credible subplots and believable twists.
Sean O'Connell - Charlotte Weekly
...not always easy to follow. Luckily, the execution is good enough to hold attention even when confusing.
Andy Klein - Los Angeles CityBeat
Rich, complex, multilayered and by turns maddening and depressing, Syriana emerges as one of the best films of the year.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
All you need to know is everyone is a bad guy in one way or another, they all want money and/or power, and they'll do anything to get it.
Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone - TheMovieChicks.com
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
It has a lot on its mind, and is not afraid to speak. So much so, in fact, that it should serve as a good crash-course in international energy affairs for those unfamiliar with the subject.
Steven Snyder - Zertinet Movies
The stories are all densely packed with detail and convincingly told.
Glenn Kenny - Premiere Magazine
A film about going home and being good to your kids.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
If you're looking for a feel-good move to get you into the holiday spirit%u2026 This isn't it.
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
One of the year's more compelling and better films.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
If you enjoy complicated plots, you'll certainly get your money's worth at Syriana.
Sean McBride - Sean the Movie Guy
Gaghan, bless him, doesn't believe in dumbing things down
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
It is a mesmerizing global economic and civics thriller that will - or should - start you thinking everytime you turn the ignition in your car.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
Takes the risk of losing its audience by interweaving four different storylines.
Mike DeWolfe - Apollo Guide
Gaghan advances the cast-of-too-many-characters in Stratego fashion, methodically moving them across a board riddled with oil-industry intrigues until they finally converge in the drama's explosive climax.
Susan Tavernetti - Palo Alto Weekly
One of the most exciting movies of the year.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
James Verniere - Boston Herald
- Baltimore Sun
[A] complex, occasionally riveting film that may fulfill Gaghan's purpose ... but will leave many viewers wondering what just happened.
Jean Lowerison - San Diego Metropolitan
They're all pawns of the oil industry -- or rather, they're pawns of director Stephen Gaghan.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
Not all of the stories on display here are as relevant or interesting as others.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
It's serious and scathing, and it seems to think that because it displays those characteristics that it should get some sort of pass when it comes to cogent story telling.
Donald Munro - Fresno Bee
Du cinema intelligent pour spectateurs intelligents.
Nicolas Lacroix - EnPrimeur.ca
A political thriller should have a little mystery to it, but Syriana, while certainly noble in its ambition, is too indecipherable to add up to a great or even good movie.
Frank Houston - Palm Beach Daily News
An intelligent dissection of the business, politics, emotions and conspiracies of the global oil industry that edifies as much as it entertains.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
The movie isn't terrible, many details are vivid, yet the depth is all sheen and display. It has some tough truths at heart, but its brain is a blurof fast cards dealt by an insecure croupier.
David Elliott - San Diego Union-Tribune
Syriana is a chillingly plausible bit of paranoia.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Watch closely and listen carefully during Syriana because Stephen Gaghan's movie is that rarity: a thinking person's drama.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
[Syriana] has what lots of great thrillers have, a sense that it knows things we don't, that even the most skeptical of us may be a little naive about the ways of the world.
Robert Denerstein - Denver Rocky Mountain News
While 'Syriana' takes much of its inspiration from current headlines, its greatest strength is not in how it reminds viewers of what they can see on a cable news channel but in how it can make its participants become convincingly human.
Dan Lybarger - eFilmCritic.com
Its narrative becomes clear enough in time, and along the way it gives the viewer the delightfully unfamiliar feeling (in prefab Hollywood) of being completely off balance.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
However it's Clooney's performance that will stick with you... One wishes his story was the focus of the film instead of one thread among many.
Daniel M. Kimmel - Worcester Telegram & Gazette
A gorgeous, well-acted (by a gaggle of successful directors, in Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson, and Thomas McCarthy), Soderbergh-y undertaking, but it's going to go over like a fart in church.
Jon Popick - Planet Sick-Boy
It's hard to get passionately swept away by a movie when you're struggling continually to figure out who's doing what to whom and why.
Ruthe Stein - San Francisco Chronicle
Gaghan asks us to piece together the story from the evidence onscreen, making the film almost an exercise in participatory investigative journalism.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Some movies have everything going for them, except that little extra 'oomph'.
Kevin N. Laforest - Montreal Film Journal
Syriana coolly dissects a system of duplicity, chicanery and corruption that has been in play for several decades now, and examines the consequences that it has borne.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Syriana is a challenging, thought-provoking work about the downward spiral of oil dependence throughout the world. It's just the thing to make you consider a hybrid for your garage or solar panels for your roof.
Jack Garner - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
This is a great film from top to bottom and I can't recommend it more for the thoughtful movie fan. It's a great ensemble piece and a profound reflection of our own scary reality.
John Venable - Supercala.com
What makes Syriana a kick isn't that it merely builds a complex web, but that it does it so well.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
It forces you to intently watch and listen and ask questions, something that in the past six years has been skillfully portrayed as an unpatriotic response to an increasingly complex international scenario.
Terry Lawson - Detroit Free Press
An occasionally incomprehensible work that still manages to be captivating and consistently watchable.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
The plots are not so much carefully interwoven as they are frantically blended, like a dubious cocktail whose true ingredients the bartender would like to hide.
Mark Collette - Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)
You keep straining to understand the bits and pieces of information that you can make out, but it still adds up to a lot less than the sum of its parts.
Bruce Newman - San Jose Mercury News
Gaghan's script wisely sticks to the human story as things twist and turn.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
I suppose if I created a flow chart of characters and devoted a few solid hours to it, I could make some sense of ... `Syriana.'
Josh Larsen - Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)
Its story line is populated with so many characters and meaningless names that it's nearly impossible to follow, and its author's message doesn't amount to much more than a cry of despair.
William Arnold - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Syriana is like a position paper, and scenes that should pull us in fall flat.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Maybe they should give editor Tim Squyres something - if not an Oscar, then antacid tablets.
Phil Villarreal - Arizona Daily Star
The problem with Syriana is not that it lacks good elements, but that it has no idea how them shape them into a comprehensible story.
Phoebe Flowers - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
A whirlwind of ambition and outrage.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
Syriana is an awards-season message in search of a movie.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Whether you follow the oil or the money, as drama Syriana is a dry well.
Thomas Delapa - Boulder Weekly
There's a brilliant piece of pulp buried somewhere beneath the speechifying... but still, Syriana's anger is invigorating.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
It has all the pedigree of classic political picture, yet all the dramatic urgency of a C-SPAN afternoon.
Brian Orndorf - FilmJerk.com
The performances have an unforced swagger that defies the limited parameters of the characters themselves (nobody gets a lot of screen time, not even the famously bulked-up George Clooney), and Gaghan's ear for real-world dialogue is almost peerless.
Steve Schneider - Orlando Weekly
A gripping and daringly complex movie about How Things Get Done these days in the blood-drenched world of oil, politics and religion.
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
this movie could be the one where Clooney finally gets his due.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
I'm giving the film a 'recommended' grade because it's well-shot and convincingly acted, and because I think there are things lurking in it that would emerge with a second viewing.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
It's intelligent agitprop, a stimulating fireball that deserves to be the center of water-cooler conversation.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
This is how agenda filmmaking is supposed to work: respecting its audience enough to stimulate their minds, rather than telling them what to think.
Rob Vaux - Flipside Movie Emporium
Convoluted, disjointed and extremely dull...amounts to a bunch of ciphers having esoteric conversations about who knows what.
Chuck O'Leary - Fantastica Daily
The result is both winning and problematic, though the positives sufficiently outweigh the negatives to make the result well worthwhile.
Wade Major - Boxoffice Magazine
...despite exceptional pacing it's so convoluted it is incomprehensible, except for George Clooney's message about America being the bad guy in the world.
Tony Medley - tonymedley.com
Certain to be on Osama Bin Laden's top ten best list of 2005.
Scott Nash - Three Movie Buffs
Stephen Gaghan pulls it off by presenting an interesting menagerie of characters, a myriad of locations and a screenplay that overestimates rather than underestimates the audience's intelligence.
Uri Lessing - eFilmCritic.com
For all of the movie's flaws, I still have an enormous respect for Syriana and all of the work that into it.
Ethan Alter - NYC Film Critic
Admirably serious but untidy, excessively schematic and more than slightly self-important...its higher ambition is enough to make it mildly recommendable.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Syriana best movie of the year
Angela Baldassarre - Sympatico.ca
Skillfully woven together and continually suspenseful.
John P. McCarthy - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
...about as timely and captivating as modern issue-related cinema is likely to ever get.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Cloaking Oliver Stone-like message mongering with Tarantino film techniques, Gaghan preaches well known leftist political tomes
John A. Nesbit - Old School Reviews
Syriana is that rarest of animals -- the star-laden studio release that's all steak, no sizzle.
Dan Fienberg - Zap2it.com
The standout of this already brilliant bunch of actors is Alexander Siddig, who before this starred in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Kevin Biggers - FilmStew.com
...manages to take one of the hottest and most controversial topics in the world and turn it into a convoluted snooze fest. Color me shocked.
Bill Clark - FromTheBalcony
Syriana is a dense, layered film that is essentially this season's broccoli %u2013 it's good for you, and when prepared right (as Gaghan has), tasty.
Devin Faraci - CHUD
Gaghan comes on like a heavyweight, but he's wearing kid gloves.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
The thematic temperature of "Syriana" runs hot and doesn't waste a single second of film time.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
A powerful political thriller, striking a resonating chord with the oil-connected news that unfolds every day.
Susan Granger - www.susangranger.com
This is propaganda. There's no doubt about that. It's also very well done, there's no doubt about that either.
Eric Lurio - Entertainment Insiders
It's a troubling vision of how terrorism and 'martyrdom' occur on both sides of this ghostly war, and is both perpetrated and facilitated by the very forces enlisted to stop it.
Ken Fox - TV Guide's Movie Guide
Seldom have form, content and cultural sensibility been so excitably aligned as in this fascinating, exasperating film about the unholy marriage of power politics and global business.
Ella Taylor - L.A. Weekly
There's definitely some black gold here, but this film didn't quite refine it.
- E! Online
The various storylines are hard to follow.., the narrative momentum dissolves in the confusion, and the multiplicity of characters means that none of them...is more than two dimensional.
Arthur Lazere - culturevulture.net
Stephen Gaghan doesn't try to explain everything that is going on, allowing the viewer to decide who is good, bad or in shades of gray.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Combine grandiose writing and insistent directing, and you get a film that pretends to tell you more than it does.
Daniel Eagan - Film Journal International
Frustrated, the sons adapt to the cruel, fanatical, and radically individual politics of their moment.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
Dave White - Movies.com
A crisply acted and occasionally exciting ensemble film undone by murky plotting and thin character development.
Timothy Knight - Reel.com
A gripping thriller, a labyrinth of parallel plots, a moral message movie and a brutally realistic action picture.
Bruce Kirkland - Jam! Movies
While it sounds glib to say that Syriana is educational at its best, I mean that as sincere praise.
Bob Strauss - Los Angeles Daily News
In the end it doesn't move you to action, and for activist cinema, that lack of energizing fervor is a bit of a problem, the longest yard between something good and something great.
Brent Simon - Now Playing Magazine
The stars are all good here ... (and they're aided by supporting work from dependable performers such as Chris Cooper, William Hurt and Christopher Plummer) and Clooney -- and his story -- really shines.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
In some ways, we're the protagonist, and when the strands coalesce in the last hour and we glimpse the bigger picture, Syriana finally eats into the mind.
David Edelstein - NPR's Fresh Air
An earnest flop
Louis Proyect - rec.arts.movies.reviews
It's intimidatingly intelligent, definitely not a time-waster, and challenges the viewer to keep up. But mashing in so many stories also serves to weaken the film as a whole.
Jeffrey Chen - Window to the Movies
a fitfully engrossing and overreaching film that is both somehow too much and yet not enough.
Chris Barsanti - Filmcritic.com
Damon again getting Gerry'ed out in the middle of nowhere encapsulates Gaghan's wandering around an issue that should leave us with something more substantial than one man trying to make sense of what just happened.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
I'm still waiting to see the film that was advertised in its great trailer. As actually released, the movie is completely dead. ... One of the worst films of the year.
Steve Rhodes - Internet Reviews
A firebomb heaved at the short-term thinking of amoral US interference in global affairs, but as a film it lacks clarity and fires in too many directions at once.
Nathaniel Rogers - CineScene.com
It has big ideas, but no pulse.
Jeremiah Kipp - Slant Magazine
...a sobering reflection of our post 9/11 world and how efforts to control natural energy resources have far reaching and disastrous effects.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Unlike The Constant Gardener, which turned on the nexus of A Good Woman's Love, Syriana is eventually a movie about moral compromise.
Bryant Frazer - Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
Somehow, the movie convinces you, through its strengths of characterization and atmosphere, that it's showing a little of how the world really works -- and that the world's dark machinations are every bit as sordid and pitiless as your worst suspicions.
Gene Seymour - Newsday
This is a cynical but undoubtedly accurate portrayal of the inner workings of international politics, where white-shoe lawyers and oil executives can be nearly as ruthless as the CIA hit men and missile-toting rebels.
Richard Roeper - Ebert & Roeper
Too many characters. This story, like Lord of the Rings, is better told as a 6-hour package divided into three films.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
Jamming too much into its 2 hours, pursuers of truth and controversy on film may well erect a statue to Clooney for bringing such material to us in an unadorned package.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
One of the best films of the year reveals the violence, the corruption, and the political chicanery involved in maintaining our addiction to fossil fuels.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Far more ambitious and complex than Traffic, Syriana is a political film that approximates reportage journalism rather than an epic or a thriller on the global oil industry and Islamic terrorism, and as such it should generate debate.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com