Syriana is the movie that will provide people with divided opinions about oil, terrorism, and the Middle East. The movie follows 4 central characters as they each grasp with their own beliefs and convictions about what is right and wrong. Syriana is a good idea in concept but the reality is that most people will never see this movie. That’s not a bad thing since the movie assumes a role of neutrality, we can see exactly who is bad and who is good, with one rare exception.

Syriana is filmed "Traffic" style. Good is in Technicolor, bad is blurry and colorless. Good people take care of family. Bad people shoot zebras. Government in any form is bad. Oil men are bad. Rich Arabs are bad. Organized terrorists are bad.

Matt Damon = good. George Clooney = good.

In other words, the movie does take sides and it is pretty obvious what the writer and director believes. Through the use of filtered light, color, dress, and the sets, there are hints everywhere of what makes up the real world and what makes up the "other" world.

One of the four stories does ring true and is believable. So, 25% of the movie is truly thought provoking and intelligent. This is the story of how young and poor men are recruited to be suicide bombers. The portrayal of how a good at heart person can be beaten down by life and find answers in religion rings true. The cleric who recruits the men operates no differently than Hare Krishna’s. The offer of belonging and friendship is given to people who are desperate to fit in somewhere and seek the approval of others. I could see the logic and understand what drives a person to the extreme.

25% of a movie still isn’t enough to recommend Syriana.

For Star Trek fans – Dr. Bashier does have an excellent role as the son of the Emir and is featured in one of the central stories. As Trek fans support Trek actors, I have to give Siddig’s performance an enthusiastic endorsement. For everyone else, you can take a pass on Syriana.