Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Syriana...I think

Saw SYRIANA. It was CRASH in the desert.

No spoiler alert necessary. I saw the movie and don’t know what happened.

I wonder how many pregnant women are going to see the print ads, not know what the movie is about, and decide to name their baby Syriana because it sounds like a pretty name.

Not since THE BIG SLEEP have I enjoyed a movie more that I understood less. Yet, I found it compelling and even appreciated that the plot catered to smart people not exit poll results. Let the dimwits who stood in the pouring rain at the Rose Parade for nine hours see CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN II.

Still, there were many unanswered questions. What was Clooney hoping to achieve? How much did David Clennon know? Who made what deal with the Chinese? Whose car did Bogart find fished out of Lido Pier?

My daughter observed that it’s one thing to have trouble differentiating between the Arabs, they all dressed the same. But she was confused by all the old white guys who all looked alike.

Great ensemble cast. George Clooney was so good I even forgive him for ONE FINE DAY. Matt Damon is the young Robert Redford.

I wonder how many idiots leave the theatre after the movie saying “Hey, this wasn’t OCEANS THIRTEEN”.

Jeffrey Wright almost steals the movie. Give him awards, I don’t care which ones.

William Hurt is starting to look like Bill Nighy.

Chris Cooper is becoming the next Michael Caine. The only movie he’s not in this year is CHICKEN LITTLE and he probably does a voice in that one.

Stephen Gaghan redeemed himself. I recently screened the DVD of another movie he wrote, HAVOC. Luscious Anne Hathaway as a Palisades High rich girl who, like all Pali High girls, winds up in an East LA gang. CRASH in Los Angeles. Wait a minute…CRASH was in Los Angeles.


david golbitz said...

I enjoyed Syriana, too, though I'm still a bit confused as to what actually happened. I wouldn't be against seeing it a second or third time to fully understand it, but I would be against paying another $8, so that'll have to wait.

But, yes, it was a pleasure to watch a film that didn't treat the audience like children.

I thought Alexander Siddig did a great job, too. He's certainly come a long way since his Star Trek: DS9 days.

Anonymous said...

SYRIANA ... my nominee for "Most Overrated Film of '05" ... Ebert and Roeper had it #1 on their list ... hey, if I don't know what the hell is going on, it ain't a great film!
Let's hope '06 is a better movie year ... but I doubt it! But then, as long as we have Michael Bay and the Wayans Brothers, we're in good shape!
Happy New Year to all ...

Shawn Bowers said...

I like how right before I read this, I read an article over at CHUD about how the wheels on Ocean's Thirteen have started a-chuggin'.

Guess those people will be satiated sooner than we thought! Aw, who am I kidding...I like the Ocean's movies too. So sue me.

CharlieDontSurf said...

I'm a bit confused why so many people are confused as to what happened. The movie didn't seem all that complicated to me...but then again the whole country griped over the complexity of Mission Impossible 1...so who knows.

Rob said...

The biggest problem for me is that none of the stories were as interrelated as a movie like this normally has them be. There was never some grand reveal, nor was there any serious weaving together at the end. Plus, a lot less seems to happen than in something like Traffic, which was much more structured around events.

But all in all, I dug the movie even if I did do a little head-scratching coming out of it.

Anonymous said...

I agree Syriana is overrated. Not the best movie of the year, and IMO isn't even in the top ten. BUT Clooney turns in a great performance, and Damon's is the best of his career.

jammit50 said...

I have to concur with the majority of postings on this movie. It was beautifully filmed with subplots upon subplots, but somewhere the main plot was missing from the film. I like to consider myself a lover of intelligent writing, but... What was the point of it all? It was most definitely overrated. George Clooney had as much of a clue as I did of what was going on.

Cyn said...

Gaghan and others have tried, over and over again, to explain what I figured out as I watched this film. The plots are not MEANT to tie up. The plots are not MEANT to be easily deciphered or otherwise followed. Why? Because that's the nature of the issue being presented! You're meant to leave the theater asking, "What the h---?" And to sit down and discuss it with friends, and perhaps to be outraged, as well. In sum, what they're trying to say is that NOBODY knows all that's really happening between big oil and the government, but here are some "snapshots" of many sides of the story to show you just how out of control things are. If you're confused--good! So is everybody else, including the agencies and companies and governments, etc., involved. That's one of the reasons it's so hard to regulate or otherwise comprehend these things--and why the general public is too dumbfounded to be angry. Yet. It's happening too fast, on too many levels. Kinda like the Syriana...

Anonymous said...

If NOBODY knows what is happening, hey, perhaps NOTHING is actually happening?

In information theory, too much information is the same as no information.

Was he Descartes who said "I'm paranoid, therefore I am?"

Relax, kids. Deep breathing helps.

Anonymous said...

I think I understood it well enough. However, I didn't feel anything for the characters. (Well I cared enough about Clooney's character that I shut my eyes during the torture scene.) But the characters are not well developed. And how did Clooney know how to find the convoy at the end? And how did he know what was about to take place? Hacking into the CIA computers I guess? Not impressive. And if you see TRAFFIC the TV series you see that Gaghan and Soderbergh copied it almost verbatim. At least the characters were well developed in that movie.

Dixon Steele said...

I wasn't confused following Syriana.

But what the hell does the title mean?

Dixon Steele said...

Had no trouble following SYRIANA.

But what the hell does the title mean?

Lloyd Thaxton said...

You really hit the nail on the head. I was in the navy and always hated that nail in the head. Thank you for hitting it.

Used to scratch my butt something awful. Damn!

Thanks again for hitting the nail on the head.


Lloyd Thaxton

Anonymous said...

At 8:35 AM, Cyn said...

"The plots are not MEANT to be easily deciphered or otherwise followed. Why? Because that's the nature of the issue being presented! You're meant to leave the theater asking, "What the h---?"

Seems to me that the film makers have fallen into the intentional fallacy pothole. To write a poem/novel/film exploring confusion...you wouldn't write a confusing poem/novel/film would you?