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“A MUST-SEE FOR THINKING AUDIENCES”


I am very excited to see Steve Gaghan’s Syriana, which we tried to nab an early screening of for Matt Ross’s piece on George Clooney in the current issue of Filmmaker. But, they were editing down to the wire so we were simply intrigued and hopeful by the trailer like everyone else. Now, Todd McCarthy promisingly weighs in in the subscription-only Variety:

“Those complaining that Hollywood never turns out films of topical or political substance are likely to embrace Syriana, a weighty and deeply intriguing look at the many-tentacled beast that is the international oil industry. Wide-ranging and restlessly probing, Stephen Gaghan’s second directorial effort uses the same mosaic storytelling technique as in his Oscar-winning screenplay for Traffic to create a revealing portrait of diverse forces contributing to global tension, particularly concerning the Middle East. Terse, understated and sometimes confusing, this is the rare film that could actually benefit from being significantly longer. Warner Bros. release will become a must-see for thinking audiences and make inroads with the wider public thanks to star names and certain critical acclaim.”

Roger Friedman on the Fox News site has also registered his surprisingly positive thoughts. “A thriller for people who read the Financial Times,” he calls it. Put that on the poster, Warner Brothers!

Here’s Friedman: “Syriana is not always easy to follow. Sometimes I felt like I needed a study guide. But Gaghan has made such an engrossing film that you can actually suspend disbelief and just go with it. Once you’re in, you’re in, too. I don’t know if it will make money or be a Best Picture candidate, but Syriana is the most intelligent movie of 2005 so far, and incredibly satisfying.”

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