Rakesh's movie talk
Syriana (2005)

Home | Movie Reviews | Movie talk | Film Personalities | Misc Articles | Contact Me | Tamil Time

Directed by Stephen Gaghan
Written by  Stephen Gaghan (Suggested by a book by Robert Baer)
Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Christopher Plummer and Jeffrey Wright. 

Syriana took time to hit Malaysian shores. IT was quite a wait and it was worth it. Syriana is explosive, intense hard-hitting drama about the truth of economics. It’s another movie that highlights the evil of money and greed for power, and we need flicks like this every year.

Money is the root of all-evil. It’s a cliché and it holds true to this date. Syriana tracks the root from all angles. From a multi-conglomerate corporation right down to the ‘faith’ful soldiers who sacrifice themselves in the name of religion they have practised.

There are two soldiers in this movie. One is a Pakistani Oil rig worker, whose Islam background gets exploited. Another is a CIA man, played by George Clooney, whose faith in CIA is shattered when he is left out in the cold when they learned that he knew ‘too much’.

Then, there is a kingmaker (literally) lawyer played with aplomb by Cristopher Plummer, his junior who gets disillusioned with the truth, Jeffrey Wright and an economic advisor, Matt Damon, whose personal tragedy is compensated with a promise of high-flying career and a positive change in the political landscape.

For most part I didn’t know what is going on. It didn’t matter really; I could always have it revealed in more viewings. But what mattered was the emotional invocation that affected me. I was squirming on my seat, chuckling, nodding, and at one point (and I don’t scare easily) I was shocked. It happened towards the end when an inevitable explosion was supposed to occur. We know it will happen, and yet we actually pray that conventional Hollywood folks could have tweaked that scene their way. Of course, it doesn’t happen, and my body shook when it happens.

I am not familiar with director/writer Gaghan’s other works, but if this is what he can produce, we got a hell of a promise for the future of filmmaking. While Hollywood is accused going through creativity bankruptcy with its endless sequels and remakes, I am glad that we still have flicks like this occasionally gracing our scene.

For those who are not familiar with Clooney’s work other than the Ocean movies, you’d be surprised at his performance here. Of course, I had seen Solaris and know what a great actor he is. In fact, I think I am the only feller who thought that Clooney was great as Bruce Wayne in the horrible Batman & Robin. I have always thought that he was in the same mould as greater classic actors like Cary Grant and Gregory Peck who can do a lot with so little. Their natural successor, I am glad that despite the fact that he is doing fine (actually doing great) as a director he is still taking acting jobs. The fact that he got nominated (won Golden Globe) for Oscars will ensure that more offers will pour in.

What baffles me the most is the fact that Christopher Plummer did not get nomination anywhere for his performance here. How unfair. Watch the scene following him asking the Iranian prince, "What can I do for you?" That is real explosion. I’d pee in my pant if I were the prince.