Syriana (2005)

 


 

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A politically-charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved and affected by it. Full summary »

Genre: Drama,Thriller

Syriana (2005)
   
Release Date: 9 December 2005 (USA)
Country: USA
Director: Stephen Gaghan
Cast:
  • Kayvan Novak
  • George Clooney
  • Amr Waked
  • Christopher Plummer
  • Jeffrey Wright
  • Chris Cooper
  • Robert Foxworth
  • Nicky Henson
  • Nicholas Art
  • Matt Damon
  • Amanda Peet
  • Steven Hinkle
  • Daisy Tormé
  • Peter Gerety
  • Richard Lintern


Incoming search terms

Syriana (2005) hindi;syriana mussawi;the syriana master class;

33 Responses to Syriana (2005)

  1. bryan-wake
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    Has anyone else noticed the only people who like this movie are boring snobs who don’t matter? Bottom line: this film was so mundane everyone forgot about it the day after they saw it.

    "Is it okay to fart during sex?" … "Sure, as long as you moan really loud to cover it up."

  2. Eric_Mtl
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    I really loved the political and economic side of this movie and was wondering if anyone can recomend any others that are similar to it. Obviously a Tom Clancy movie would probably be a good choice and Sum of All Fears/The Hunt for Red October are two of my favorite movies but I was curious if there were any others, oh and I’ve also seen both editions of the Manchurian Candidate, so any other ideas would be greatly appreciated, thanx.

    "It’s Complicated…" -Bob

  3. zachcurley1
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    I don’t get how they figure he was a supporting actor, especially when you compare it to Anthony Hopkins winning Best Lead Actor for Silence of the Lambs when he was in it for less than 20 minutes.

  4. jonnyjiggs
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    I never understood why Dean Whiting refused to shake Bennet Holiday’s hand in the ritzy club, was it because he was black? or didn’t have enough stature? what?

  5. tygor88
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    If you’ve read John Perkins book "Confessions of an Economic Hitman", then you’ll have no problem understanding this movie first time.

    He has three books out now, the latest one titled "hoodwinked", how corporations control the world and influence both US and foreign governments. you can watch his interview on the collapse of Iceland here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMcJflvA7GQ

  6. rapp-6
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    Syriana is my favorite movie and I admit I am biased discussing it. Nonetheless, it disturbs me that a film with such great actors and brilliant performances, complex and yet relevant political/economic issues, incredible camera work and character development, can have a rating that is lower than any harry potter movie released.the only way i can explain it is that the story is too sophisticated and not everyone can involve themselves in it.if someone has any other arguments i am glad to read them and try understanding them, but for me it is unforgivable…

  7. carpet_seller
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    That as Bob is killed at the end that his threat will be carried out against the big cheese Dean Whiting, i.e. his wife/daughter will go missing and then they will come for him?

    Even though it was an accidental killing -they didn’t know Bob would be there- it would be good if this happened as a good comeuppance for Whiting.

    Also why was Bob there anyway? Did he know about the hit? So why wasn’t he shouting for the prince to leave his car quickly?

  8. tricksoftrade02
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    The depection of the terrorist in this movie seemed to me a little to kind. The hatred that motivates them was missing. The movie only focused on their religious motives, and that too was light.

    This was most likely done because of the fear of backlash from the Muslim community, and the negative publicity it would cause.

    No fear from hollywood to offend the oil companies in a negative light however.

    Evil corporations will always be favourite target of Hollywood

  9. sadmovies
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    When the parents of the boy haul him out of the pool, they say, "He’s not breathing." Then start screaming, "get a doctor". Why didn’t they, these educated, white affluent, tofu bacon eating parents start CPR??? Or at least yell, "Does anyone know CPR???" That scene was a stupid plot device and could have been done correctly and would have been more believable if CPR didn’t work instead of him just dying in their ignorant arms. Where are thses screenwriters getting their information?

  10. tricksoftrade02
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    The oil lobby is not as powerful in US politics as depected in this movie. Hollywood loves to put the light on American capitalism as the villian and the audience (esp the far left) will eat this up without a thought. The premise that oil contracts to the US are more important to foreign policy than the moderation of a theocractic society is flat out wrong today.

    Real world example; Iraq now has OPRN bidding on their oil field contracts and China is in the forefront. (Most other companies are shunning bidding because the offer is very low, $2 a barrel given to the companies who develop fields)

  11. morenste
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    Are there subtitles in this movie?

    I’m watching it on my computer and there are many scenes in other languages but no subtitles. Is this on purpose? Or do I have a bad version of it?

  12. MomentaryParticle
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    THE SYRIANA MASTER CLASS – THE ULTIMATE SYRIANA FAQ

    This thread consists of a series of summaries about Syriana characters and plot points, written over the past two years, to convey an advanced understanding of this complex film. It is assumed that the reader has seen the film, and has a general understanding of the plot.

    Here are some resources that can provide a basic understanding of the film:

    ========================================================================

    The Warner Syriana web site provides a good overview, particularly the Synopsis and Characters sections:

    http://syrianamovie.warnerbros.com/

    The IMDB Syriana FAQ also provides a good overview of the parallel plot lines:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/faq

    For those that want to invest the time, the screenplay is available on the Warner Brothers Syriana web site.

    This will greatly improve your understanding (it is not the final version of the film, but it is fairly close):

    http://pdl.warnerbros.com/wbmovies/syriana/site/med/Syriana-Screenplay .pdf

    ========================================================================

    FAQ ENTRIES IN THIS THREAD

    My Syriana Summary:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122352387#1 22352387

    Syriana Main Characters – one line descriptions:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122352533#1 22352533

    Syriana’s Complexity – A Caveat for the Uninitiated

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=127965839#1 27965839

    Scenes from the Syriana screenplay CUT from the film:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?p=4&d=126 705933#126705933

    About Bob Barnes’ Missile Deal with the Amiri Brothers:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122352659#1 22352659

    About Bob’s "Audition" at CIA HQ:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122352775#1 22352775

    About Bob’s Friend Stan Goff:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122352913#1 22352913

    About Bob Barnes’ Awakening:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122353043#1 22353043

    About Bob’s Big Pause, Part One:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122353162#1 22353162

    About Bob’s Big Pause, Part Two:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122995334#1 22995334

    About Bennett Holiday:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122353304#1 22353304

    About Bennett Holiday and his father, Bennett Holiday Sr:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122353423#1 22353423

    About Bennett Holiday and Dean Whiting in the D.C. Men’s Club:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122353547#1 22353547

    About Bennett’s relationship with Asst. Att’y General Donald Farish:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122353662#1 22353662

    About Bennett Holiday and the Clearing of the Merger:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122353799#1 22353799

    About Byran Woodman:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122353903#1 22353903

    About The Bryan Woodman – Prince Nasir Business Deal:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122354030#1 22354030

    About Bryan Woodman And Prince Nasir’s Convey:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122354154#1 22354154

    About Dean Whiting:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122354277#1 22354277

    About Dean Whiting and Prince Meshal:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122354407#1 22354407

    About Dean Whiting And The Meeting With Bob Barnes In The Diner:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122354522#1 22354522

    About The CLI:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122354638#1 22354638

    About Danny Dalton:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122354764#1 22354764

    Danny Dalton’s Corruption Speech:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122354896#1 22354896

    About Prince Nasir:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?p=4&d=130 432787#130432787

    About the Missile Attack on Prince Nasir – Technology:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122355053#1 22355053

    About the Missile Attack on Prince Nasir – Politics:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122355191#1 22355191

    About Jimmy Pope:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122355318#1 22355318

    About Mussawi:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122355476#1 22355476

    About Mohammad Sheik Agiza (The "Blue-Eyed Egyptian"):

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/board/flat/122352255?d=122355782#1 22355782

    ========================================================================

    ALERT: ALL POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

    ========================================================================

  13. imdb2-32
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    Get tortured exactly like he was and right after he gets off of it, the sadist will direct deposit 1 000 000 USD cash exactly to your checking account and you never have to see him again (maybe except in your nightmares).

    Hmmm… Are you game?

  14. Keymaker789
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    Irrespective whether you greatly love, or dislike the superb Syriana film, what fiction

    and/or even non-fiction drama conspiracy thriller and/or action conspiracy thriller books

    (with similar, or even more interesting themes and characters in your view, to those in Syriana) would you love seeing get film adapted.

    It doesn’t have to only be set in the oil industry and/or in the Middle Easy, but it’s fine if anything mentioned also is. Please elaborate on what the story is about, who the author is and why you greatly admire it.

  15. Silent6000
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    Someone on Stephen Gaghan’s IMDB board mentioned what’s below, 18 months ago. It doesn’t

    mean that the Syriana film’s writer – director is a hypocrite, but some may interpret

    the irony that way.

    http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2007/05/syriana-writer-stephen-gaghan-minnie-mortimer-wedding-oil-heiress.php

    For filmmaker Stephen Gaghan, oil money is the gift that keeps on giving. Gaghan, the writer-director behind 2005’s Syriana, got married last weekend, to Minnie Mortimer, a member of one of New York’s most prominent society clans. Mortimer is the great-granddaughter of Standard Oil president Henry Morgan Tilford (and sister-in-law of sometime Radar mascot Tinsley Mortimer).

    Syriana of course, was a ‘scathing’ (as it was invariably described in reviews) look at the politics of the international oil business. Promoting the film in a Huffington Post blog, Gaghan wrote, ‘This massive pile of wealth, of found money from a puddle under the earth, has the same effect as the gravity of a black hole that bends and swallows the morality of all who pass into its orbit. You think you’re immune? Well, I suspect you just haven’t been induced yet, you haven’t met your devil’.

    Gaghan and his devil met at Barry Diller’s annual pre-Oscars picnic, according to parkavenuepeerage.com and were wed on Saturday at Manhattan’s St. Thomas Church. ‘It wasn’t

    over-the-top expensive, but it was pretty much what you’d expect from a rich, Upper East Side society family, but it wasn’t gross, which it easily could’ve been’, says one guest. Adds the guest, ‘Nobody at the wedding mentioned the irony, but I’m sure it wasn’t lost on Steve’.

  16. LaptopAcidXperience
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    1. It only takes a few days of Islamic school with some french fries, lamb skewers, football and a look at a Surface to Air Missile to convert itinerant Pakistanis disgruntled at being fired into suicide bombers.

    2. A CIA agent with twenty plus years field experience on a mercy dash to save the lives of several people doesn’t use GPS to get to his destination only a paper map which when he gets lost he has to stop and get out of his car to read.

    3. Hollywood can’t make a serious film without undermining it through overuse of contrivance and other screen writing course taught gimmicks.

    4. Arabs are basically savages with lots of money and no class.

    5. Americans are country raping c unts.

    6. Matt Damon can’t act.

  17. What-The
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    too much jargon talked up, too much dancing around the point

    the message is lost amongst all this, this sadly is an overrated film

    the only really interesting bit for me in the whole film was this scene of people playing "cricket" (yes that is a real competitive sport) in the desert in the middle east

  18. jeunecesar
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    The only blue-eyed Arab that i know is Bashar Al-Assad, President of Syria:

    http://www.parade.com/export/sites/default/images/2007/0211/dictators/ 10-Bashar-al-Assad.jpg

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/middleeast-crisis/gfx/assad_cp_15620 24.jpg

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2d/Syria.BasharAlAssad .01.jpg

    "Happy Wife = Happy Life (Still, keep her away from your pocket)"

  19. obelix99
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    My girlfriend fell asleep 1/2 way through the movie. I also saw about a dozen walked out of the theatre. It’s not that the movie was bad. Well, to them, it was. But to me, it’s the shifting perspective that makes the movie confusing. I’ve seen it three times now just to make sense out of all the characters and how they lend into the movie. It’s more than just a movie about corruption and oil.

    But for those that want to rent this movie to see it with the wife/girlfriend, I suggest you rent "Ocean’s 11" or something else. THIS IS NOT A DATE MOVIE!!!!

    What intrigues me is the Robert Baer connection. He’s the real life CIA guy. ALthough this is not a true story, you know there are a lot of corruption elements going on in our government today and their desire to control the oil in the middle east.

    Overall….a very good movie. The more you see it, the more you will enjoy it.

  20. intheskywith
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    has anybody read the books?

    the books r non fiction books, right? some kinda memoirs..?

    is syriana a dramatization of a true story based on the book, or is it different with the book, (fictional)?

    i met a lotta people saying that the movie "is not realistic" or "it should be like this or like that", and im thinkin "what do u know, just cause u read the news doesnt mean u know anything real", u know what i mean? i mean robert baer was a cia agent right, he must know a lot of stuff we dont know..?, same thing happened with john perkins book..

  21. kausix777
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    1. B Holiday – He was having beer earlier on in the movie (in the club) but later he said he didn’t drink. Why?

    2. "You’re not one of those *beep* thumpers".

    What does this mean?

    3. Was it Jimmy or Mussawi? or both?

    4. Dean Whiting didn’t shake hands with Bennett Holiday.

    Was that his condescension or just racism? I don’t believe the theory that he is distancing himself from the investigation. How can he distance himself from his own company? Also, how is it that Bennett is a neutral investigator here if he is working for a company that is working for one of the parties in the deal?

    5. During the final bombing scene, one guy (Wasim) asks the other to ride along quickly to his side. The other guy hesitates but finally nods. I didn’t understand this at all. We saw Wasim ride into the tanker but what happened to the other guy?

    6. Was Bob baiting for or against Iran? What exactly was he rooting for in his official briefing session?

    7. What is the meaning of "Iran is fine"?

    8. Why was it illegal for an American to control an excess gas pipeline through Iran? Is there any US law to that effect?

    9. How can they arrest Dalton based on his bribes given in Kazakhastan? How is that a crime in USA? Is there a law to that effect in the USA?

    10. "For my other kid?" – what does this mean?

    11. The names "Con"nex and "Kill"een – are they deliberately crooked sounding? :-)

    12. CLI – If they wanted to hear good things about Iran, why did they have a CLI at all? What would a "good, liberated" country need to be liberated from? And if Bob gave them the truth, why were they not impressed?

    13. Why did Wasim give his name as Johnny at the (was it an) embassy?

  22. jmlamerson
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    As much as we Westerners (not just Americans) hate to admit it, Tim Blake Nelson’s "corruption" monologue was correct. We are willing to be as humanitarian as possible to the rest of the world . . . as long as it does not affect our standard of living. For all the moralizing on these and other message boards, on talk shows, in universities, and other such places, none of us are moving to Ghana, to Pakistan, to Yemen, or to the Congo. We might go so far as to join the Peace Corps, but we want our cars, houses, cheap groceries, movies, music, televesion, and other comforts. Its easy to be humanitarian when things are good.

    When gas is $10/gallon, groceries have tripled in price, inflation makes our 401Ks/IRAs/pension plans worthless, families have sunk themselves deep in consumer debt to provide a certain lifestyle for their children, taxes are 60-70%, and there are only $8.00/hr service jobs available, do you think people will care so much about the plights of Middle Easterners? The rich (including filmmakers) may, but most people won’t

  23. Just_a_critic
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    Incorrectly regarded as goofs: The missiles that Bob sold to the Iranians are Russian Surface-to-Air missiles, and the words visible on the side of the missile are Russian. However, only the terrorist calls them US-made. All we know is that they were sold by a US operative.

    If you saw the Movie, It is Bob (George Clooney) who calls them US Made missiles. Seeing as how he is a US CIA agent and that he sold them shouldn’t he know that the missiles were made in Russia!!!

  24. Danny452
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    Of which country are the Royal Emir’s (Nasir, Meshal and Hamed) supposed to be from?… Is it the United Arab Emirates?… Or Saudi Arabia?… Or, somewhere else?

    If anyone can let me know that would be great… Much appreciated, thanks =)

  25. fp_ff_fp
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    The gas workers at the Natural gas facility were all speaking Hindi. Even in the first scene, they all spoke Hindi instead of Farsi or Urdu.

    I suppose since they couldn’t get Iranians or shoot in Iran, they passed off Hindi as Farsi/Urdu.

    Otherwise, the movie is decent.

  26. huggyloveflower
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    I’ve watched this twice now and both times I end up saying "what the f$%K is this about?". I’m not a moron, I mean, I can watch most movies and understand the plot without racking my brain….memento, mullholland drive, murder on the orient express, city of lost children, etc.

    But Syriana was a different story. The direction is so poor, and the dialog is so confusing. There are no beats. There is not enough character development. There is no "down time" when the characters aren’t talking about the same crap over and over. The movies I listed above are sort of art house films and Syriana is political. Maybe that’s the problem.

    I understood the basic gist of the story, but damn this was some of the worst direction and editing I’ve ever seen.

    I normally hate Amanda Peet, but she was good because of her very real performance. Especially in the "fountain scene". Matt Damon was utterly unconvincing as a smarmy oil salesman though, I think Ben Affleck would’ve been better. Jeffrey Wright is my favorite black actor, but his character was the most confusing. He didn’t do anything! He was very one dimensional. Clooney was good, but he didn’t seem like he liked being in the movie and his story wasn’t fleshed out enough. Chris Cooper was also good, but his dialog sucked.

    The "family" drama was much more interesting to me because that’s something I can react to. The scene with Clooney and his son was very good, but there isn’t a lot of that in the movie.

    The thing that gets me the most is the lack of "visual clues". There are none. It’s all exposition by dialog. You have to pay close attention to what the characters are babbling about in order to follow the story….and it’s all technical/political jargon. This sucks because it’s VISUAL media.

    My poor 60 year old dad couldn’t understand what was going on and he’s the smartest guy I know.

    I felt like I was watching a f*@king spreadsheet.

    Anyway, I’m interested in hearing others opinions.

  27. hollybibble
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    When Damon and Peet’s characters are talking on the bench (whilst their son is playing in the fountain), I noticed that after his wife and living son exit the scene, their dead son can be seen playing at the edge of the fountain by himself. Did anyone else notice this? Or is this a different kid?

  28. varathron1
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    1-Who was that black guy who was sitting by the steps of Holiday’s house on both occassions he appears? They never talk about his relation to Holiday (Roommate? Associate? Boyfriend???) And why does he get pissed off at him after Holiday is dropped off by the limo?

    ———————————–

    NEXT QUESTION CONTAINS SPOILERS

    2-We know Bob’s threat/warning to Whitting at the diner place. Since Bob was actually eliminated at the end, does that mean the threat given to Whitting actually becomes a reality? and if it does, who carries out the actions outlined on Bob’s threat/warning?

    ————————————

    3- Do the Chinese actually end up getting the contract?

    4-Why did exactly Bob need to talk to the leader (?) of the Hezbollah to carry out his mission?

    Thanks!!

  29. tricksoftrade02
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    Why did he not let the US know of his progresive stance? It seems that except for Damon’s charcter, nobody new of his ideology.

  30. Gary_Allen
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    I haven’t read Robert Baer’s See No Evil.

    I was intrigued by "The Committee For The Liberation of Iran". I certainly wonder if there is a real world counterpart?

    I would guess that there have been subversive efforts by the West in Iran. After all we, along with the British, did help to overthrow one government there in the 1950’s.

    I’m sure, if there’s some truth here, that Ahmadinejad has taken advantage of it. I’m sure that if there is an anti-Iran lobby, secret or otherwise, that Iran is aware of it. I wonder if Ahmadinejad used either the book or the film as evidence?

    This reminded me of watching an Armed Services Committee hearing on Cspan one evening several years ago. The subject was then UN Ambassador John Bolton. The questioning concerned Middle East military funding. At one point Rep. Dennis Kucinich questioned him. He said that he had read in a New Yorker magazine article that there were US special forces then in Iran, and would Bolton care to comment. I was fairly stunned by this question, and I can imagine Bolton’s reaction. I’d be fairly certain that the oxygen level in the room went down considerably. Bolton gave his best pokerfaced non-answer, neither confirming or denying. I hope that, if it was (or is) true, that it’s purely information gathering. Although sabotage of the nuclear facilities does seem like a good idea, considering that the issue does seem to be at a dead end. This certainly does seem to be one of the best alternatives. Every other one is very dire.

    As to a fifth column, I’m sure that the internet does just fine, thank you. I would love to know exactly what Saberi was charged with? I’m thinking that she was an inadvertant courier, considering that they did let her go.

    I’m also curious about the Russian perspective on Iran.

  31. AmarR123
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    I kept getting a vibe from the two brothers that they were either half English or raised in the UK for considerable periods of time, considering their accents, mannerisms and overall ‘demeanour’.

    Nasir’s wife especially doesn’t look Arab and his children seem "mixed" to put it crudely, so I was wondering if Prince Nasir & Meshal are supposed to be a mixed Arab monarchy with strong ties to Britian, much like the current Monarchy of Jordan, who’s King Abdullah is half English.

    (And I think served as a big inspiration for the Monarchy depicted in this film).

    The Queen/Wife of their father, Emir Hamed Al-Subaai, is never referenced nor mentioned too.

    I mean I get the fact they’re from a wealthy, Gulf state and have had all the creature comforts of being potential heirs to a throne since they were born, but the English accents just seemed too unrealistic for me (that the over-the-top extravagance of Meshal, even Arab princes are a tad more demure).

    Sure plenty of oil-wealthy Arabs study abroad (like Nasir mentions) but I doubt many live abroad for extended periods of time.

    It’s just not within the Arab mindset to sent one’s children to live away from their family like that when they’re young. Especially Royals.

    When the Defecation hits the Oscillation.

  32. nubbytubbybiatchesgalore
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    1. the chinese would not passively accept the loss of their contract to an american firm. they would retaliate, and it would be very public

    2. the cia would not kill the would be emir who had the backing of china, and its military. (no, china would not attack the US but they would certainly stop helping the US on the North Korea file, and they would certainly help iran any way they could). nor would they be so bold to kill him just as he was about to overthrow his brother. there would be a huge outcry and it would be very public

    3. there was no reason to send bob to lebanon. especially considering it was a drone that took the prince out anyway. and there is no way they could blame bob as a rogue agent for the bombing, as they were intending to do, since he does not have access to a drone plane

    4. wahabi suicide bombers dont join up because they’re poor and have no job prospects. most are middle class and are committed to their religion. the boy in this film is shown to have NO religious or political motivations. this movie has the madrasa teachers talking about free trade. what? this movie completly ignores the real political and religious motivation behind al qaida and their sympathizers

    5. the CIA would be VERY concerned that a missle similar to the one that blew up the USS cole was just stolen by an arab. also, the CIA is actually known for one thing – being completly in the dark as to anything going on in the middle east. the idea that they have a competent agent in iran is laughable. the cia has been so wrong on so many things in the middle east

    6. the head of a law firm would never have enough political power to have a seasoned cia operative decommissioned. this is conspiracy stuff. there is a reason the movie doesnt show what these political connections are exactly. the plumber-cia connection is never shown for good reason.

    7. worst of all was the actual dialogue – the black lady who gets briefed by clooney, the goofy guy from the "good girl" movie who gives that laughable speech about corruption, all the dialogue by chris cooper. the dialogue is clearly written for an audience that is assumed to have no knowledge about the middle east. you just cringe when you hear these people talk, like they are trying to be profound with their obvious platitudes (no *beep* the oil is running out matt damon. that was no good will hunting)

    8. DOJ prosecutors would never stop an investigation after getting just two bag men because "it’s in the interests of the american consumer to have this merger go through". if that was the case then dont prosecute anybody. in real life these doj prosecutors would spend millions over years trying to indite everyone they could to make a name for themselves. they are notorious for overstepping their bounds

    9. to quote charles krauthammer:

    "What is grotesque about this moment of plot clarity is that the overwhelmingly obvious critique of actual U.S. policy in the real Middle East today concerns America’s excess of Wilsonian idealism in trying to find and promote — against a tide of tyranny, intolerance and fanaticism — local leaders like the Good Prince. Who in the greater Middle East is closest to the modernizing, democratizing paragon of "Syriana"? Without a doubt, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, a man of exemplary — and quite nonfictional — personal integrity, physical courage and democratic temperament. Hundreds of brave American (and allied NATO) soldiers have died protecting him and the democratic system they established to allow him to govern. On the very night the Oscars will be honoring "Syriana," American soldiers will be fighting, some perhaps dying, in defense of precisely the kind of tolerant, modernizing Muslim leader that "Syriana" shows America slaughtering.

    "It gets worse. The most pernicious element in the movie is the character at the moral heart of the film: the beautiful, modest, caring, generous Pakistani who becomes a beautiful, modest, caring, generous . . . suicide bomber. In his final act, the Pure One, dressed in the purest white robes, takes his explosives-laden little motorboat headfirst into his target. It is a replay of the real-life boat that plunged into the USS Cole in 2000, killing 17 American sailors, except that in the "Syriana" version, the target is another symbol of American imperialism in the Persian Gulf: a newly opened liquefied natural gas terminal."

    in the movie’s defense, of course oil influences foreign policy, and of course the cia is an instrument of this policy. but so what? it doesnt make the US evil. whether you like it or not or realize it or not, you have an interest in the success of american industry, and the american government has an interest in the success of american industry.

    the shaw in iran was better than the ayatollah. mubarak is better than the muslim brotherhood. no taliban is better than the taliban. american access to oil is better than chinese or russian access to oil.

    people fail to see just how worse off we would all be is the US pulled back and allowed other powers to fill the void it leaves

    and no, i am not a conservative. im not a republican. im not even an american.

  33. RazzTheMan
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    I REALLY expected to like this movie, but my wife and I REALLY did not like it. I understand all of the politics and the subplots, but the subplots were so choppy and shallow that I found them very unsatisfying. (For example, why did the other kids want Bryan Woodman’s kid to jump in the pool? SPOILER ALERT: Why did he get electrocuted? Did the other kids know that he would get electrocuted? How did anybody know that he had been electrocuted? Before Bryan Woodman jumps in the pool, somebody screams to have the power shut off. How did they know that the pool was electrified? Why didn’t anybody try CPR?)

    Similarly, the characters and relationships were so underdeveloped that many seemed pointless. (For example, what was the point of the old black guy at Bennett Holiday’s house? It didn’t add anything worthwhile to the plot or character development.)

    Some of the scenes seemed unrealistic. For example, SPOILER ALERT: Musawi kidnaps Bob and tortures him, but then miraculously, with seconds to spare, the Hezbollah leaders catch wind of it and stop Bob’s execution. But then they don’t get Bob medical attention or get him to a bed or anything. They leave him laying half naked, unconcious, on a cement floor in his own blood. What? And the CIA launches a Predator drone strike on the prince of a friendly oil-rich country leaving dozens of witnesses (and evidence) to verify an illegal US assassination? And the royal family won’t mind the US Predator drone assassination of their prince? How absurd.

    I got the feeling that the movie was just a collage of trite stereotypes meant to preach to the audience about the hackneyed evils of big-oil, extremism, and geopolitics. And I’d guess that, by far, most of the people who liked the film, like it because of their politics, rather than on the merits of the film. But it’s just a matter of taste in art. This movie reminds me of a painting where the artist spatters bunch of colors on the canvas. Not my thing.

    Thumbs down.

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