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Photo Credit :: Syriana
Arts & Entertainment
By Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
December 28, 2005 
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Given Stephen Gaghan’s screenplay for Traffic, it’s no secret that Gaghan can handle multiple narratives – and one of the joys of Gaghan’s direction and screenplay for Syriana is his expectation that the audience can and will follow his lead. Just as Traffic was an unflinching exposé of the many human lives caught in the so-called “drug war,” so is Syriana direct and head-on, a steady-gazed film about the oil industry’s global tentacles. A scathing indictment of the means utilized by both the Muslin and Christian worlds to secure oil and its resultant wealth, Syriana does little to inspire hope that the current polarized state of the planet will end any time soon. At times, Gaghan’s screenplay evokes a disillusion similar to Watergate-era films such as Three Days of the Condor or The Conversation, and at Syriana’s end, it is easy enough to feel as if nothing has changed – not just since Nixon, but since Machiavelli.