N.Y. Times Critic: Even If Clooney Movie Is Way Off-Base, You Have to Admire Its Energy
“Someone is sure to complain that the world doesn't really work the way it does in ‘Syriana’: that oil companies, law firms and Middle Eastern regimes are not really engaged in semiclandestine collusion, to control the global oil supply and thus influence the destinies of millions of people. O.K., maybe. Call me naïve -- or paranoid, or liberal, or whatever the favored epithet is this week -- but I'm inclined to give Mr. Gaghan the benefit of the doubt. And even if the picture's rendering of current events turns out to be entirely off base, the energy, care and intelligence with which it makes its points are hard to dismiss.” Okay, Mr. Scott, you have it: you're a paranoid liberal. A peek at Metacritic.com shows that critics routinely found it to be liberalism on speed:
Keith Phipps, The Onion A.V. Club: The film "rushes toward a conclusion that, taken on its own, is the stuff of a slightly hysterical leftie pamphlet."
Rick Groen, Toronto Globe and Mail: "Syriana sets out to prove what many have come to suspect -- that oil money is the root of all contemporary evil."
Ken Fox, TV Guide: "We can only hope that the time frame is meant to be sometime before 9/11, and not after. Either way, it's a troubling vision of how terrorism and 'martyrdom' occur on both sides of this ghostly war, and is both perpetrated and facilitated by the very forces enlisted to stop it."
J. Hoberman of the Village Voice even works in the left-wing PBS series "Frontline" in praising it: "Given the large cast, the international hopscotch, and the tantalizing illusion of depth, the movie's tone is 'Frontline' meets John le Carré."