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Syriana (2005)

(click image larger version) SYNOPSIS

From writer/director Stephen Gaghan, winner of the Best Screenplay Academy Award for Traffic, comes Syriana, a political thriller that unfolds against the intrigue of the global oil industry. From the players brokering back-room deals in Washington to the men toiling in the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, the film’s multiple storylines weave together to illuminate the human  consequences of the fierce pursuit of wealth and power. As a career CIA operative (George Clooney) begins to uncover the disturbing truth about the work he has devoted his life to, an up-and-coming oil broker (Matt Damon) faces an unimaginable family tragedy and finds  redemption in his partnership with an idealistic Gulf prince (Alexander Siddig).

A corporate lawyer (Jeffrey Wright) faces a moral dilemma as he finesses the questionable merger of two powerful U.S. oil companies, while across the globe, a disenfranchised Pakistani teenager (Mazhar Munir) falls prey to the recruiting efforts of a charismatic cleric.

Each plays their small part in the vast and complex system that powers the industry, unaware of the explosive impact their lives will have upon the world.

Director: Stephen Gaghan

Producers: Jennifer Fox, Michael Nozik, Georgia Kacand

Executive Producer: George Clooney, Steven Soderbergh, Ben Cosgrove, Jeff Skoll

Cast: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright, Chris Cooper, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, Amanda Peet, Christopher Plummer, Alexander Siddig, Mazhar Munir, Greta Scacchi

Release Date: November 23, 2005 (Limited), December 9, 2005 (Wide)

DVD Release Date: April 26, 2006 (US)

This film has been rated R by the MPAA for violence and language.

(updated 9/13/05 from Warner Bros.)

View images from the movie in the Gallery.

Discuss the film @ the Forums.

(in alphabetical order; click on name to visit website)

George Clooney (‘ER’, Ocean’s Eleven, The Perfect Storm)
Clooney plays Bob Barnes, a former CIA agent who worked in the Middle East. Clooney reportedly packed on more than 30lbs and grew a beard to appear more like Baer in the film. Casting Note: Clooney and Damon are frequent on-screen partners having previously teamed up in Ocean’s Eleven and the upcoming sequel Ocean’s Twelve.
Chris Cooper (Adaptation, Seabiscuit, The Bourne Identity)
Cooper plays Jimmy Pope, owner of a Texas oil company. Casting Note: Cooper annd Damon worked together in The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy.
Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, Ocean’s Eleven, The Bourne Identity)
Damon plays Bryan Woodman, an energy analyst with radical ideas about oil and the Middle East. Casting Note: Clooney and Damon are frequent on-screen partners having previously teamed up in Ocean’s Eleven and the upcoming sequel Ocean’s Twelve.
William Hurt (Broadcast News, A History of Violence)
Hurt plays Stan Goff, a retired CIA agent and longtime associate of Bob Barnes.
Akbar Kurtha (The Bill, Beneath the Skin)
Kurtha is Prince Meshal Al-Subaai, Nasir’s younger brother and second in line to the throne.
Max Minghella (Bee Season, Art School Confidential)
Minghella plays Robby Barnes, Bob Barnes’ son.
Mazhar Munir (The Bill, Mile High, Doctors)
Munir is Wasim, a young migrant worker from Pakistan trying to find work in the oil fields of Prince Nasir’s country. Casting Note: Although he has appeared on several British television series, this marks Munir’s film debut.
Amanda Peet (The Whole Nine Yards, Something’s Gotta Give)
Peet plays Julie Woodman, the wife of Damon’s character, Bryan Woodman.
Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, A Beautiful Mind)
Plummer is Dean Whiting, the head of the law firm that Bennett Holiday works for and knee-deep in an oil merger.
Alexander Siddig (Vertical Limit, Spooks, Kingdom of Heaven)
Sid plays Prince Nasir Al-Subaai, a reform-minded Gulf Prince, next in line to become the Emir of his country.
Jeffrey Wright (Angels in America, Broken Flowers)
Wright is Bennett Holiday, a lawyer investigating an oil merger that takes a potentially dangerous turn.


Filming has wrapped as of December 2004. Locations included Texas, Maryland, Casablanca, Geneva and Dubai.


>WBUR (an NPR station in Boston) has an audio interview with Sid mostly talking about Syriana but also touching on Star Trek and on Sid’s uncle, the former prime minister of Sudan. The interview aired December 20, 2005.

Here & Now with Alexander Siddig – RealMedia / 4K

>Thanks again to Clooney Network, we have several clips from A&E’s MovieReal available for download. Currently available in Windows Media Player only.

Windows Media

Clip 1 – 3.5MB
2 – 11MB
3 – 6.5MB
Clip 4 – 7.5MB
Clip 5 – 4.5MB
Clip 6 – 1.5MB
Clip 7 – 6.5MB

>Thanks to Clooney Network, we have 3 clips from HBO’s First Look.

Windows Media and Quicktime versions are available.

Windows Media
Clip 1 – 3.25MB
Clip 2 – 3.3MB
Clip 3 – 3.1MB
Clip 1 – 6.6MB

Clip 2 – 6.3MB

Clip 3 – 6.5MB

>A short clip from CNN.com reviews the film and features a brief interview with Sid at the junket on November 20 in New York City:

CNN.com clip – Windows Media v.10 – 5MB

CNN.com clip – Quicktime – 5MB

>43-minute roundtable discussion (audio only) with Stephen Gaghan, George Clooney, Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Siddig, and Bob Baer held November 21, 2005, in New York City:

Roundtable Discussion – MP3 Format – 25MB

Thanks to Christopher-Plummer.com, we have the clip of Syriana being reviewed on Ebert & Roeper on November 19:

Ebert & Roeper review – Windows Media – 10MB

Entertainment Weekly – December 9, 2005

ComingSoon.net – December 4, 2005