Friday, December 23, 2005



George Clooney: Bob Barnes veteran CIA agent in Tehran, Iran
Alexander Sidding: Prince Nasir, reform minded heir apparent to the Emir
Akbar Kurtha: Prince Meshal, Nasir’s younger brother, a pampered playboy
Matt Damon: Bryan Woodman, energy analyst living in Geneva
Amanda Peet: his wife Julie
Christopher Plummer: Dean Whiting, head of the law firm Sloan Whiting
Mazhar Munir: Wasim Ahmed Khan, young migrant worker employed by Connex
Shahid Ahmed: Wasim's father Saleem Ahmed Khan
Tom McCarthy: Fred Franks, Bob Barnes’ CIA boss
Viola Davis: Marilyn Richards, Deputy National Security Advisor
Jeffrey Wright: Bennett Holliday, lawyer with Sloan Whiting
Nicky Henson: Sydney Hewitt, Connex’s Washington counsel
Chris Cooper: Jimmy Pope, President of Killen
Tim Blake Nelson: Danny Dalton, Texas oilman
Peter Gerety: Lee Janus, Connex Chairman
David Clennon: Assistant Attorney General Donald Farish III
William Hurt: Stan Goff, retired CIA agent and longtime associate of Bob Barnes
(and there are 66 more credited cast members!)

Killen: small Texas oil company with valuable drilling rights in Kazakastan
Connex: large Texas oil company wanting to merge with Killen
CLI: Committee to Liberate Iran

Somewhere in all this confusion, there is an important message (we are running out of oil) but the story is so convoluted and complex that this gets lost in the telling.

Two things would make the movie intelligible: fewer people in it (there are over 70 speaking roles according to the official website) so you don’t have to keep track of so many characters and some straightforward explanations from time to time of what is going on. Otherwise we are left to our own resources to figure it out ourselves. That is a daunting task.

for brief head-turning violence and some language.

The clock in the control room shows the time to be 23:22 when the missile is launched and is in flight only a couple of minutes. But upon impact the controller announces “Target eliminated at …. (pause while he looks up at the clock)… 23:44”

Syriana: a geopolitical term created by the CIA referring to the Middle East hot spots that have proved so volatile to U.S. security.

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