Syrianna certainly has the most complicated and ambitious movie currently in the theatres. The movie consists of overlapping storylines, a technique director Stephen Gaghan used effectively in his Academy award winning script for Traffic a few years ago. The stories range from the back-room boys in Washington to the men sweating in the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, to a dirty tricks CIA operative to form a political thriller that shows the human consequences of the furious pursuit of wealth and power.
Syrianna has much to recommend it, from George Clooney’s portrayal of a CIA hitman who struggles to find his moral center while those around him seem to be losing theirs to the skilful way that director Gaghan weaves together the complicated story, building up to an unforgettable climax.
Clooney’s is a quiet performance that grows more interesting as we learn more about his character. Little by little we are let into the world of international political dirty tricks and past the steely façade of Clooney’s career CIA agent.
Releasing Syrianna at this time of year when most of the films in the theatres are of the “feel good” variety is a bit of a risk, but it may be a welcome antidote to talking lions, giant apes and dancing Broadway producers.