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'Syriana' is George Clooney's Terrorist Treat
November 28, 2005

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

It seems that George Clooney will do anything to get an Oscar.

A few short months ago Clooney served up the history-distorting "Good Night, and Good Luck." Now he's come out with another film that looks like he's scrounging for a little gold statue.

Clooney is both executive producer and star of the film "Syriana." (The title refers to a think-tank term involving the transformation of the Middle East into an Americanized region.)

Taking a page from the Charlize Theron handbook on How to Cinch an Academy Award, Clooney put on the pounds, donned some shabby clothes and went for an unbecoming look.

The only thing missing was some gender bending, but he made up for his heterosexual slip up by engaging in one of Hollywood's favorite pastimes: making films about gallant tyrants, turncoats and terrorists while simultaneously dissing the U.S.

Reminiscent of a 1970s movie with a paranoid scent (something along the lines of "The Parallax View") this flick feeds the far Left's delusions.

The film's tagline is "everything is connected," and woven together are some of the anti-war crowd's looniest conspiracy theories. Loosely based on CIA Agent Bob Baer's memoir "See No Evil," "Syriana" presents itself as a fount of fact.

It was written and directed by Stephen Gaghan who also wrote "Traffic," and is filmed in the same starkly realistic style.

Using handheld cameras to create an illusion of on-the-spot TV news reporting, an Oliver Stone-like hypothesis is presented where Arab potentates, predatory oil companies, prevaricating law firms and unprincipled government agencies secretly band together in an attempt to gain wealth and power.

Also like "Traffic," "Syriana" uses the technique of interweaving multiple plots in an apparent effort to heighten the intrigue. The story lines are numerous and quite complex with the following subplots taking place:

  • Two U.S. oil companies maneuver to merge;

  • A Mideast prince sells oil drilling rights to China;

  • An energy analyst (Matt Damon) exploits a tragedy to gain favor with the prince;

  • An attorney tries to push through an oil merger on behalf of Big Oil;

  • A Pakistani father and son get laid off from their jobs in the prince's oil fields and the son deals with his termination by becoming a terrorist;

  • The prince loses his position as heir to the throne because he ticks off Big Oil and ends up getting knocked off;

  • -Bob Barnes (Clooney) is a long time CIA agent who is close to retirement. After a failed mission, Barnes is given an assignment to whack the noble Arab prince. His mission goes haywire and the CIA turns on him.

Terrorism rears its head toward the end of the movie, but it's portrayed in liberal fantasy fashion. The young terrorists use a boat loaded with explosives to crash into an oil tanker.

Contrary, of course, to what typically happens when terrorists strike the celluloid women and children are spared from harm in the incident.

To fully develop the subplots the movie should have been done in miniseries form with a little-screen release.

As it stands, though, "Syriana" is two hours of disjointed big-screen propaganda.

Reproduced with the permission of . All rights reserved

Copyright © 2005
James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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