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Just got back from seeing Syriana, the movie, with Joe

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UPDATE: As I didn't like the movie, I'd like to give a fair chance to those who did. You can read some favorable reviews from our comments here.

Ok, so here's the thing....

Syriana bought ads on the blog, and I very much appreciate that. But I didn't really like the movie, and I have to tell the truth when I review these kind of things, so you can trust me when I tell you I do like something.

If you're afraid of me spoiling the movie for you, don't read on.

Basically, it's a movie about big US oil companies being evil, the CIA being evil, Arab governments being evil (or stupid), the US government being evil, the Chinese being greedy, young Pakistanis having nowhere to turn but evil, etc. It's fiction too.

The movie has some great stars, George Clooney and Matt Damon. Both are pretty good - I liked Damon, Clooney was okay. But here's my problems with the flick.

1. The plot is way too complicated from the git-go. The movie tries to weave four or so plots together, and I don't think it does a very good job. Some major characters, like an Arab (or something) named Mussawi - I have no clue who he is or why he existed in the movie, yet he played a relatively key role.

2. The movie was a tad too obviously strident. Yes, everyone is evil, we get it. But at some point in the movie I got that cumbaya feeling in my gut I get when things are being presented to me in too easy of an uber-liberal way - e.g., if we just all clap our hands Tinkerbell will live.

But in this case, it was in reverse. Everyone is just evil: big oil, the CIA, our government, lawyers, blah blah blah. Yes, the world is evil and only liberals can save it. I get it. And I don't disagree with some of the key points of the film - yes, we know corporate America is amoral (boy do we know), and yes the CIA does doe some nasty things (though it's debatable whether we can live in this world without having something like the CIA). And yes, our government can be less than pure. But something about getting that point across in heavy-handed fiction just didn't ring true for me. If the movie were a documentary, I would have been far more influenced by it. But when you show me a fake story with fake facts I have a hard time getting mad at the CIA and the US and the big oil companies when the case you're presenting isn't real.

I just didn't love it. Joe (Joe in DC, that is) went with me. He said he wouldn't recommend it, neither would I. He said he'd have been ticked if he spent ten bucks to see it. I'd have been disappointed, but not ticked. It might be worth watching on DVD, but I just didn't love it.


If anyone has seen it and has a different take on the movie, I'd love to hear it. It's supposed to be a big deal, I just didn't get that from it.

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