Critics Consensus

Ambitious, complicated, intellectual, and demanding of its audience, Syriana is both a gripping geopolitical thriller and wake-up call to the complacent.



Total Count: 197


Audience Score

User Ratings: 226,828
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Movie Info

From the players brokering back-room deals in Washington to the men toiling in the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, a political thriller with multiple storylines that weave together showing the human consequences of the fierce pursuit of wealth and power. As a career CIA operative begins to uncover the disturbing truth about the work he has devoted his life to, an up-and-coming oil broker faces an unimaginable family tragedy and finds redemption in his partnership with an idealistic Gulf prince. A corporate lawyer faces a moral dilemma as he finesses the questionable merger of two powerful U.S. oil companies, while across the globe, a disenfranchised Pakistani teenager falls prey to the recruiting efforts of a charismatic cleric. Each plays their small part in the vast and complex system that powers the industry, unaware of the explosive impact their lives will have upon the world.


George Clooney
as Bob Barnes
Matt Damon
as Bryan Woodman
Jeffrey Wright
as Bennett Holiday
Christopher Plummer
as Dean Whiting
Chris Cooper
as Jimmy Pope
Robert Foxworth
as Tommy Thompson
Amanda Peet
as Julie Woodman
William Hurt
as Stan Goff
Max Minghella
as Robby Barnes
Tim Blake Nelson
as Danny Dalton
Jamey Sheridan
as Terry George
Nicholas Reese Art
as Riley Woodman
Tom McCarthy
as Fred Franks
Viola Davis
as Marilyn Richards
Jayne Atkinson
as CIA Division Chief
William Charles Mitchell
as Bennett Holiday Sr.
Nicky Henson
as Sydney Hewitt
Peter Gerety
as Lee Janus
David Clennon
as Asst. Attorney General Donald Farish III
Alexander Siddig
as Prince Nasir Al-Subaai
Akbar Kurtha
as Prince Meshal Al-Subbai
Fritz Michel
as Security Guard
Nadim Sawalha
as Emir Hamad Al-Subaai
Mazhar Munir
as Wasim Ahmed Khan
William C. Mitchell
as Bennett Holiday, Sr.
Shahid Ahmed
as Saleem Ahmed Khan
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Critic Reviews for Syriana

All Critics (197) | Top Critics (50) | Fresh (143) | Rotten (54)

Audience Reviews for Syriana

  • Dec 20, 2012
    Based in part on the writings of former CIA case officer Robert Baer, Syriana combines multiple storylines to explore the complexities that befall a proposed merger between two U.S. oil giants. That being said "Syriana" is a very well made picture. It is very complicated but I admired the interlocking stories and the characters and the wheeling and dealings between the East and West. "Syriana" visual style reminded me of "Traffic" which Stephen Gaghan also wrote. The cast (and it's a vast cast) From George Clooney, Matt Damon, Christopher Plummer, Chris Cooper, Jeffrey Wright, Akbar Kurtha, Tim Black Nelson, Max Minghella, Chirstopher Plummer, Amanda Peet and Viola Davis. Oil is crucial in today's society and is one of the most important sources on earth. Water is another strong candidate but the wealthy would probably prefer oil companies overseas.
    Brian R Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2012
    Syriana is not a film for everyone. It requires the audience to be extremely attentive, and may even require multiple viewings to be able to fully understand who is doing what, where they're doing it, and why they're doing it. The plot is so complicated and ambitious that at the beginning I found myself frustrated and annoyed that I didn't get it and that it was moving at such a slow pace. There are also multiple plot lines that never really have anything to do with each other except that the actions of one affects one of the other plot lines thus altering the outcome. But all these quibbles put aside, Syriana is a wake-up call to people who think everything is going well in the oil sectors of the world, it's got this docu-drama feel to it, and it rings true in every sense. George Clooney stands out amidst an outstanding cast. I think I'd need to see it again, and pay much closer attention to be able to fully comprehend and understand what was going on. Definitely go see Syriana, but see it when you are awake and prepared to pay attention.
    Raymond W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 31, 2012
    An uninteresting politic-driven movie that just isn't my cup of tea. I could tell if I were to understand what was going on or even be interested in what was going on, I'd like it. It's well acted (certainly not Academy Award worthy, which Clooney apparently was) and it's well filmed but it's really hard to keep track of the overly complex screenplay. The only people who should bother with Syriana are people who really understand politics (and care about them, for that matter) or people who can easily keep track of complicated plots.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 22, 2012
    What appeared to be unconnected stories throughout the film becomes an intertwined reward for those willing to endure the highly involved political talk and constantly shifting agendas. George Clooney displays an uncharismatic performance, yet somehow still nails the subtly of the role.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer

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