Sunday, June 25, 2006


I love a good conspiracy. While I wouldn't categorize myself as a conspiracy theorist (and what mostly-clear thinking, self-respecting conspiracy theorist would?), I tend to be a tad skeptical of people and their motivations. Which, of course, is a process of thinking that lends itself to believing--or at least not immediately dismissing--conspiracies.

Think more people than Lee Oswald conspired to assassinate JFK? Maybe.

President Truman established Majestic 12 after the Roswell crash? Well...I dunno 'bout that.

Current President Bush and his administration lied to the American people in order to get us into Iraq to satisfy political and economic desires? Hell, yeah!

Syriana shines a very bright light on the intermingling of government and big business. The movie shows how, without many citizens being aware, the two are so intertwined that the policies of one affects the other. The results change global dynamics, cultural norms and the everyday lives of individuals.

The story of Syriana is difficult to follow. The pacing is slow and the acting seems minimalistic. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the way through I looked at my wife and asked: "Any of this making sense to you?" Not much was, which worried me. Mrs. Film Geek is a whole lot smarter than I am.

Not long after that comment, we began to figure out that the film seemed disjointed because it is staying true to how similar events are carried out in real life. Governments, businesses and even people who are connected do not always know they are. More often than not, we know nothing at all about the domino effects that influence our lives. Governments adopt polices, businesses merge, kings come and go; how those happenings are influenced--and how those happenings influence the daily lives of people across the globe--is the real theme of Syriana.

I think.


Off Route 75 said...


You must have Dean or Kucinic on speed dial.

The Film Geek said...

And their personal email addresses.

Ian C. said...

I really, really wanted to like Syriana, but like you, thought it was just too dense and incoherent.

You bring up a great point about the movie trying to emulate the grey areas and complications of real life. However, there is something to be said for taking some liberties in the name of storytelling and drama. And somewhere along the line, Stephen Gaghan apparently forgot that.

This would've been much better as a six-part HBO mini-series, where the characters and storylines could have some room to breathe.

The Film Geek said...

Ian, I agree about the mini-series idea. Through most of the film I felt almost as if I was less informed and educated about these issues than maybe I previously thought. It just felt too inside to me. But, it contained a valid message overall, I thought.

jedi jawa said...

I saw somebody talking about this movie recently, it may have been Ebert and Roeper, but I seem to recall that they said that the film is designed so that you don't really get everything that is happening on a first viewing...perhaps not on a second viewing either. While it didn't sound as confusing as "Primer" or "Memento" to follow (both great films), it does sound like a good flick that I want to check out.