Syriana (2005)

by | Jul 10, 2006 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Syriana (2005)

Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright
Studio: Warner Bros. 80772
Video: Enhanced for 16:9 widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English or French
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Extra: Additional scenes; A Conversation with George Clooney; “Make a Change, Make a Difference,” Theatrical trailer,
Length: 128 minutes
Rating: *****

“What is the price of oil?” is a question many of us are asking today – with the question coming from all sides of the political spectrum, and not necessarily grousing about gas being $3 a gallon!  Big oil equals big money, and this thriller – which won an Academy Award for Clooney as Best Supporting Actor – deals with the corruption and the brutal “strategic decisions” which go on in that world.  It is based on a book by a former CIA agent (played by Clooney) who is sent to the Mideast to arrange the assassination of a prince coming to power in a small Arabic country, who has resisted allowing U.S. military bases on his soil.  Oil is one of the most relevant stories in the news today, and there is no escaping the environment which it creates for terrorism.

Director Stephen Gaghan won an Academy Award a few years ago for Traffic, and Syriana shows similar depth, complexities, and seriousness of purpose which the film on the drug traffic had explored. It is a far cry from the usual Hollywood thriller. The various interlocking story lines show the toll on wives, family and friends caused by the harrowing work of the leading characters in the drama.The two main extras are really interviews with George Clooney about the film but make an excellent introduction to it, whether you saw the feature in the theater or this is your first time viewing it.  The video transfer is without any serious flaws but I was disappointed that more creative use was not made of the surround channels. There appeared to be some terrific opportunities. The subtle soundtrack music reminded me of outtakes from The English Patient.

 – John Sunier

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