Syriana Review

Spoiler Alert
Why it is I found this movie one of the most captivating and intellectual films in recent history –


The movie does not take it upon itself to educate you about the various dynamics of the region. It expects you to know or to want to find out. I prefer films that do not attempt to babysit the audience and walk them through complex political situations within two hours because the end result is always a superficial action packed adventure.

Key scenes were where at the beginning Cloony asks the terrorist if he speaks Farsi. A majority of the audience would not understand the profound revelation just made but if you know the various languages spoken in the region you can recognize what the writer/director just did.

The portrayal of the father and sun duo from Pakistan also adds to the subtle nature by which the writer seeks to portray the complex dynamics that shape the political climate of the region. The massive amount of menial workers from Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Phillipines, is something I have experienced first hand and I was suprised to see it in a film with brand name actors. I

I was even more gratified to find that a majority of the film – the entirety of the dialogue between the father/son duo and who they interact with – was in Urdu. (The official literary language of Pakistan and form of Hindi with major influences of Arabic and Persian) The average listener may have been able to pick up on the difference in languages (Arabic vs something else) but being fluent in a dielect of Hindi heavily influenced by Urdu I was able to listen to it in it’s entirety.

Subtlety lends the film depth.


The film focuses upon the human players in the Middle East’s relations with the world. From Emir’s to CIA Case Officers to Oil Companies to Businessmen; their stories are the focus rather than their actions. If you will remember the screen turns white when the terrorists attack; the camera cuts out when the cars are blown up; each is designed to focus on the human aspects of the political dynamic rather than their actions. To summate – the film is a concentrated effort to recognize what creates the dynamic rather than focusing on what occurs as a result of it. As the Global War on Terror continues it is vital that this kind of knowledge is transmitted over communications networks to the masses.

Rest assured, I will be buying the DVD and will be reanalyzing the film at a later date.

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  • Urdu isn’t very prominent in Pakistan considering less than 8 percent of the population speaks it (vast majority of whom were immigrants from North India). But yeah, anyone in Pakistan capable of higher level reading and writing does so in either Urdu, or English. Sometimes Sindhi. Urdu actually has extremely little to do with Pakistan, far more with India because it’s North India’s de facto artistic tongue.

  • You need to check your facts on Urdu. It is the official language of Pakistan and 75% are fluent in it. 95% of urban areas interact primarily in Urdu.

  • the truth
    Mar 4, 2006

    Utter nonsense. Urdu has 100% to do with Pakistan as it’s the national language and widely spoken over there (in all provinces). I don’t know where you got all the misinformation from. By the way the Hindi language you’re referring to has been largely modified and replaced with Urdu that’s spoken in all Indian movies nowadays. Just a tiny interesting fact if you ever noticed 🙂

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