Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Syriana (**)

I was expecting great things from this psedo-sequel to Traffic. It juggles multiple characters in the same way, and takes a hard-hitting relevant topic and looks at it from a variety of different angles. Here's the difference: Traffic was entertaining. This movie is just a complete bore. The subject matter is interesting and just screams for better treatment on film. Writer-director Stephen Gaghan is so concerned with tackling issues of oil and terrorism in the middle east that he forgets to humanize any of his characters. They're all vague archetypes, and you don't really feel for any of them or gain any insight into who they are or why they do what they do. The film is majorly lacking in any humanization. Matt Damon's character is the most fleshed out, and even then, you'll find it easy not to care. So much is going on, and the filmmakers don't take any sides, or seemingly have any strong opinions about anything. They just bring a bunch of issues up and then basically tell the audience to "discuss." Just because Syriana is intelligent and ambitious, that doesn't mask it's failures and flaws. Confusing and boring: a lethal combination.


At 12:36 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

It's odd, Syriana pretty much drops you off at a certain point in the character's lives and never does any more development. You have to accept them for who they are at that moment and somehow be interested in them. I was interested in them, but Syriana should have done something more with the characters to make the film powerful.


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