Syriana (2005)

R | 122 or 127-128 mins | Drama | 23 November 2005

THIS TITLE IS OUTSIDE THE AFI CATALOG OF FEATURE FILMS (1893-1993)
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HISTORY

The film’s opening onscreen credits are intercut with images of Pakistani immigrants milling around in a desert as they push their way onto a bus. Toward the end of the film, the screen goes white when “Wasim Ahmed Khan” and “Farooq” slam into the tanker with the missile. Although the plot of Syriana unfolds in approximate chronological order, the various storylines are interwoven, with the action switching back and forth among them.
       Syriana was very loosely based on the 2002 book See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism by Robert Baer, who, under the name Bob Baer, also has a small role in the film as a security guard. The memoir chronicles Baer’s experiences working in the Middle East as a case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations from 1976--1997. According to presskit materials in the film’s production file at the AMPAS Library, after optioning the rights to Baer’s book, George Clooney and director Steven Soderbergh approached Stephen Gaghan, who wrote the screenplay for Soderbergh’s 2001 film Traffic (see below), about writing a screenplay based on the book. According to a quote by Gaghan in the presskit, he became interested in the machinations of the oil industry while working on Traffic , because, at that time, “the Pentagon’s anti-terrorism and anti-narcotics branches were the same division." While researching Traffic , Gaghan began to notice parallels between the trafficking of drugs and the power plays of the oil industry.
       According to Gaghan, the only thing he retained from Baer’s book was the idea ... More Less

The film’s opening onscreen credits are intercut with images of Pakistani immigrants milling around in a desert as they push their way onto a bus. Toward the end of the film, the screen goes white when “Wasim Ahmed Khan” and “Farooq” slam into the tanker with the missile. Although the plot of Syriana unfolds in approximate chronological order, the various storylines are interwoven, with the action switching back and forth among them.
       Syriana was very loosely based on the 2002 book See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism by Robert Baer, who, under the name Bob Baer, also has a small role in the film as a security guard. The memoir chronicles Baer’s experiences working in the Middle East as a case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations from 1976--1997. According to presskit materials in the film’s production file at the AMPAS Library, after optioning the rights to Baer’s book, George Clooney and director Steven Soderbergh approached Stephen Gaghan, who wrote the screenplay for Soderbergh’s 2001 film Traffic (see below), about writing a screenplay based on the book. According to a quote by Gaghan in the presskit, he became interested in the machinations of the oil industry while working on Traffic , because, at that time, “the Pentagon’s anti-terrorism and anti-narcotics branches were the same division." While researching Traffic , Gaghan began to notice parallels between the trafficking of drugs and the power plays of the oil industry.
       According to Gaghan, the only thing he retained from Baer’s book was the idea that the main character was a CIA agent who had worked in the Middle East for most of his career. The presskit noted that Gaghan researched Syriana for a year before starting the screenplay, speaking with petroleum industry personnel in Lebanon, Syria, Dubai, North Africa, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. Baer also accompanied Gaghan to the Middle East, where he introduced him to oil traders, CIA operatives, arms dealers and the leader of the Islamic movement Hezbollah. The word “Syriana” is a term used by Washington think-tanks to describe a hypothetical reshaping of the Middle East. Gaghan noted that he selected the title Syriana for his screenplay because it refers to the “fallacious dream that you can successfully remake nation-states in your own image.”
       According to various articles reprinted on Clooney’s personal website, the original version of Syriana ran two and a half hours. After it was shown to test audiences, a decision was made to tighten up the storyline and shorten the length of the film. Jul 2004 news items in DV and HR yield the following information about the material that was cut: According to the news items and a preliminary script review featured on the Clooney website, in one of the story lines cut from the released film, Michelle Monaghan portrayed “Mary Alice Johnson,” a beauty pageant queen who becomes the lover of “Raja Salaam,” an oil magnate working with the royal family. Chris McDonald played Mary Alice’s father. In another story line eliminated from the released film, Greta Scacchi played “Bob Barnes's” embittered wife. According to a DV news item and HR production chart published in Aug 2004, Dagmara Domincyk was cast, but she does not appear in the released film. Although the preliminary script review noted that Gina Gershon was in the cast, Gershon does not appear in the released film.
       Syriana was a production of Section Eight, a company partnered by Soderbergh and Clooney. According to a Jan 2005 NYT article, Clooney and Soderbergh pitched their idea for forming Section Eight to Warner Brothers Pictures, which was seeking producers with potential “Oscar cachet.” In 2000, Warners gave the team an office on the lot as well as paid their overhead costs. Syriana was co-financed by Participant Productions, a production company founded by eBay co-founder Jeff Skoll in Jan 2004 to “stimulate involvement in social issues,” according to a 15 Nov 2005 LAT article. According to the company’s mission statement on its website, “Participant exists to tell compelling, entertaining stories that also create awareness of the real issues that shape our lives. We seek to entertain our audiences first, then to invite them to participate in making a difference next.” To this end, Participant has established a website entitled www.participate.net. In conjunction with the release of Syriana , the website features a series of links to other sites dealing with topics such as “learning how to reduce your dependence on oil” and “telling Congress it’s time for an oil change.”
       According to the presskit, location shooting in the United States was done at the 777 Ranch in Hondo, TX, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore and Annapolis, MD. Overseas location filming took place in Casablanca, Morocco, which stood in for Tehran and Beirut; and Geneva, Switzerland at the English Garden on the left bank of Lake Geneva and at the Cimetière des Rois, where “Max Woodman’s” funeral was shot. The company filmed for four weeks in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where The Royal Mirage Hotel stood in for the Marbella Estate home of the “Emir,” and the Al-Maha Resort served as the setting for “Nasir’s” meeting with “Bryan Woodman.” To insure authenticity, a team of translators and dialect coaches were hired to tutor the actors in the Arabic, Urdu and Farsi dialects used in the film.
       Syriana marked the American screen debut of actor Mazhar Munir, who played “Wasim.” The film also marked the motion picture debut of journalist Jon Lee Anderson, the correspondent who covered the Iraq war for The New Yorker . Soderbergh, Clooney and Matt Damon had previously worked together on Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) and Ocean’s Twelve (2004), all Section Eight productions.
       In addition to being selected as one of AFI’s ten Movies of the Year for 2005, Syriana received two Academy Award nominations, one for Clooney, who received the award for Best Supporting Actor, and the other Gaghan, who was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Gaghan won the National Board of Review’s award for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for Best Adapted Screenplay. In addition, Gaghan and Baer were nominated for a USC Scripter Award. Clooney received the Golden Globe for Supporting Actor as well as a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. The film also was nominated for a Golden Globe for Original Score (Alexandre Desplat). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
6 Jul 2004.
---
Daily Variety
2 Aug 2004
p. 6, 24.
Daily Variety
21 Nov 2005.
---
Entertainment Weekly
2 Dec 2005
pp. 28-33.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 2004
p. 6, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 2004
p. 5, 21.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Aug 2004.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 2004.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 2005.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Nov 2005.
---
Los Angeles Times
23 Nov 2005.
---
New York Times
17 Jan 2005.
---
New York Times
23 Nov 2005.
---
New York Times
7 Dec 2005
Arts, p. 1, 7.
The Independent
25 Nov 2004.
---
USAToday
10 Dec 2005.
---
Variety
11 Dec 2003.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
In order of appearance
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A 4M Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir, 2d aerial unit
1st asst dir
1st asst dir, 2d aerial unit
1st asst dir, Dubai unit
1st asst dir, Morocco unit
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir, 2d aerial unit
2d asst dir, Morocco unit
3rd asst dir, Overseas
3rd asst dir, Overseas
3rd asst dir, 2d aerial unit
3rd asst dir, Geneva unit
2d 2d asst dir, Overseas
2d 2d asst dir, USA
2d 2d asst dir, USA
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog, 2d aerial unit
Aerial dir of photog, 2d aerial unit
Cam op/Steadicam op
Cam op, USA
Cam op, 2d aerial unit
"A" cam 1st asst
"A" cam 1st asst, 2d aerial unit
"A" cam 2d asst, Overseas
"A" cam 2d asst, USA
"A" cam 2d asst, 2d aerial unit
"B" cam 1st asst
"B" cam 1st asst, 2d aerial unit
"B" cam 2d asst, Overseas
"B" cam 2d asst, USA
"B" cam 2d asst, 2d aerial unit
Wescam, 1st AC, 2d aerial unit
Chief lighting tech, Overseas
Chief lighting tech, USA
Asst chief lighting tech, Overseas
Asst chief lighting tech, USA
Asst chief lighting tech, Dubai unit
Rigging gaffer, USA
Key grip, Overseas
Key grip, USA
Best boy grip, Overseas
Best boy grip, USA
Best boy grip, Dubai unit
Dolly grip, Overseas
Dolly grip, USA
Video assist, Overseas
Video assist, USA
Video asst, Morocco unit
Stills
Stills
Loader, Overseas
Loader, USA
2d boom op, Overseas
2d boom op, USA
24 frame playback creation/Tech, USA
24 frame playback creation, Overseas
24 frame playback creation, Overseas
24 frame video playback, Dubai unit
24 frame video playback, Dubai unit
Genny op, Morocco unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir, Overseas
Art dir, USA
Art dir, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Art dir, Dubai unit
Asst art dir, Dubai unit
Art dept coord, Overseas
Art dept asst, Batimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Art dept asst, Dubai unit
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec, Overseas
Set dec, USA
Asst set dec, Overseas
Asst set dec, Geneva unit
Prop master, Overseas
Prop master, USA
Asst prop master, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. uni
Asst prop master, Dubai unit
Leadperson, Overseas
Leadperson, USA
Buyer, UK
Buyer, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Buyer, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Prod buyer, Overseas
Props buyer, Dubai unit
On set dresser, Overseas
On set dresser, USA
Set dresser, Overseas
Set dresser, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Set dresser, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Set dresser, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Const coord, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Const coord, Dubai unit
Const coord, Morocco unit
Const lead foreman, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. u
Standby painter, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Standby painter, Morocco unit
HOD painter, Morocco unit
Charge scenic, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
HOD carpenter, Morocco unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Key cost
Key cost, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Key set cost
Set cost
Set cost
Set cost, Overseas
Set cost, Overseas
Set cost, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Cost, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Cost, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Cost, Morocco unit
Cost, Morocco unit
Cost, Morocco unit
Asst to cost des, Dubai unit
Asst to cost des, Morocco unit
Cost buyer, Geneva unit
MUSIC
Mus ed
Score rec and mixed by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed/Re-rec mixer
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff supv
Spec eff coord, Overseas
Spec eff coord, USA
Spec eff foreman, Overseas
Asst spec eff tech, Overseas
Digital intermediate and opticals by
Digital film colorist
Visual eff
Visual eff
MAKEUP
Makeup dept head
Key makeup artist, Overseas
Key makeup artist, Overseas
Key makeup artist, USA
Makeup artist, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Makeup artist, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Makeup & hair artist, 2d aerial unit
Makeup spec eff
Prosthetics created by
Prosthetics created by
Hair dept head
Hair dept head
Hair stylist, Overseas
Hair stylist, USA
Hair & makeup asst, Morocco unit
Hair & makeup asst, Morocco unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Casting asst
Casting asst
Casting asst
Casting asst, New York
Casting, France
Casting, Egypt
Casting, Baltimore/Washington D.C.
Extras casting, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Casting coord, Dubai unit
Casting coord, Dubai unit
Casting coord, Dubai unit
Casting coord, Dubai unit
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Unit mgr, Morocco unit
Unit mgr, Geneva unit
Unit base mgr, Geneva unit
Asst unit mgr, Dubai unit
Asst unit mgr, Dubai unit
Asst unit base mgr, Geneva unit
Prod mgr, Dubai unit
Prod mgr, Morocco unit
Prod mgr, Geneva unit
Prod mgr, Geneva unit
Prod supv, Dubai unit
Prod supv, Dubai unit
Prod supv, Morocco unit
Post prod supv
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Scr supv
Scr supv, 2d aerial unit
Financial controller
Key loc accountant
Loc accountant, Morocco unit
Loc accountant, Geneva unit
Asst prod accountant, Overseas
Asst prod accountant, Overseas
Asst prod accountant, Overseas
Asst prod accountant, USA
Asst prod accountant, Baltimore & Washington, D.C.
Asst prod accountant, Baltimore & Washington, D.C.
Asst prod accountant, Baltimore & Washington, D.C.
Payroll accountant
Budgeting estimator
Key prod coord, Overseas
Key prod coord, USA
Prod coord, Morocco/Dubai
Prod coord, Los Angeles
Prod coord, UK
Prod coord, Dubai unit
Prod coord, Morocco unit
Prod coord, Geneva unit
Prod secy, Overseas
Prod secy, UK
Prod secy, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Prod secy, Morocco unit
Unit pub
Dial coach
Consultant
Cultural consultation and translations
Cultural consultant
Cultural consultant
Tech consultant
Tech consultant
Tech consultant
Tech consultant
Action vehicles supv, Overseas
Action vehicle coord, Dubai unit
Action vehicles coord, Morocco unit
Action vehicle secy, Morocco unit
Action vehicle finder, Morocco unit
Action vehicle/Marine asst, Morocco unit
Transportation coord, Overseas
Transportation coord, USA
Transportation coord, USA
Transportation capt, Overseas
Transportation capt, USA
Transportation capt, Dubai unit
Transportation capt, Morocco unit
Transportation capt, Geneva unit
Transport asst, Morroco unit
Transport asst, Morroco unit
Marine coord, Overseas
Marine coord, USA
Asst marine coord, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. un
Marine supv, Morocco unit
Boat supv, Morocco unit
Boat supv, Morocco unit
Boat supv, Morocco unit
Boat supv, Morocco unit
Dive safety supv, Morocco unit
Safety diver, Morocco unit
Safety diver, Morocco unit
Safety diver, Morocco unit
Water safety/EMT, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. uni
Security coord
Unit doctor, Morocco unit
Unit nurse, Overseas
Unit nurse, 2d aerial unit
Unit nurse, Morocco unit
Set medic, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Set medic, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Catering supv, Overseas
Caterer, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Catering, Dubai unit
Catering, Morocco unit
Catering, Geneva unit
Craft service, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Asst to Jennifer Fox
Asst to Stephen Gaghan
Asst to Stephen Gaghan
Asst to Matt Damon
Asst to George Clooney
Staff asst, set, Overseas
Staff asst, set, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Staff asst, set, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Staff asst, set, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Staff asst, set, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Staff asst, set, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Staff asst, set, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Staff asst, office, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. u
Staff asst, office, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. u
Staff asst, office, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. u
Staff asst, office, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. u
Staff asst, office, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. u
Staff asst, office, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. u
Staff asst, office, Dubai unit
Staff asst, office, Geneva unit
Staff asst, office, Geneva unit
Staff asst, Morocco unit
Staff asst, Morocco unit
Key loc mgr, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Key loc mgr, Dubai unit
Loc mgr, Washington, D.C.
Unit loc mgr, Dubai unit
Loc mgr, 2d aerial unit
Loc mgr, Morocco unit
Loc mgr, Morocco unit
Loc mgr, Geneva unit
Key loc asst, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Key loc asst, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit
Asst loc mgr, Dubai unit
Asst loc mgr, Dubai unit
Asst loc mgr, Dubai unit
Asst loc mgr, Morocco unit
Asst loc mgr, Geneva unit
Loc scout, Morocco unit
Loc asst, Dubai unit
Loc asst, Dubai unit
Loc asst, Dubai unit
Loc asst, Dubai unit
Loc asst, Dubai unit
Asst prod office coord, Baltimore & Washington, D.
Asst prod office coord, Baltimore & Washington, D.
Asst prod office coord, Geneva unit
Aerial coord/Specialist pilot, 2d aerial unit
Helicopter tech
Liaison officer, Dubai unit
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism by Robert Baer (New York, 2002).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Train" and "Church Scene," from The Outsiders , written by Carmine Coppola.
SONGS
“Let Da Monkey Out,” written by Reggie Noble, Erick Sermon and Johnny Guitar Watson, performed by Redman, courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group, under license from Universal Music Enterprises, contains samples from “If I Had the Power,” performed by Johnny Guitar Watson, courtesy of Concord Music Group, Inc.
“Chinatown,” written and performed by Do Make Say Think, courtesy of Constellation Records
“Wasp Nest,” written by Matthew Donald Berninger and Aaron Brooking Dessner, performed by The National, courtesy of Brassland.
DETAILS
Release Date:
23 November 2005
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 20 November 2005
Production Date:
2 August 2004--20 January 2005
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc.
Copyright Date:
8 February 2006
Copyright Number:
PA0001279010
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Digital; dts; SDDS Sony Dynamic Digital Sound in selected theatres
Color
Technicolor; Kodak Motion Picture Products; Fujifilm
Lenses/Prints
Panavision cameras and lenses
Duration(in mins):
122 or 127-128
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
42061
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Tehran, Iran, CIA agent Bob Barnes, on a covert mission to assassinate two Iranian arms dealers, lures them into a trap by offering to sell them two Stinger missiles. Unknown to Bob, the dealers already have sold one of the missiles to militant fundamentalist Mohammed Sheik Agiza. At a deserted café, as Bob exhibits his wares to the dealers, the gun-wielding Agiza suddenly appears to claim the missile, and when Bob objects, Agiza takes the weapon by force. Meanwhile, in Georgetown, D.C., Dean Whiting, the head of a prestigious law firm hired by giant Connex Oil to ensure that the corporation's proposed merger with Killen Oil will be approved by the Justice Department, charges Bennett Holiday, an ambitious black attorney who works at the firm, with the responsibility of investigating how Killen, a small Texas oil company headed by Jimmy Pope, won the drilling rights to the lucrative fields in Kazakhstan. The approval of the merger is critical to Connex, which lost its long-held rights to drill in an oil-rich Persian emirate when the country’s foreign minister, Prince Nasir Al-Subaai, the son and heir of Emir Hamed Al-Subaai, awarded the rights to the higher bid of the People’s Republic of China. As a result of the company’s loss of its drilling rights in the Persian Gulf, Connex lays off the legion of Pakistani immigrants who have left their country to work in the oil fields. Among those affected are Wasim Ahmed Khan and his father Saleem, who despite the bleakness of his prospects, still dreams of bringing his wife from Pakistan to live with them. Upon returning to CIA headquarters in Langley, ... +


In Tehran, Iran, CIA agent Bob Barnes, on a covert mission to assassinate two Iranian arms dealers, lures them into a trap by offering to sell them two Stinger missiles. Unknown to Bob, the dealers already have sold one of the missiles to militant fundamentalist Mohammed Sheik Agiza. At a deserted café, as Bob exhibits his wares to the dealers, the gun-wielding Agiza suddenly appears to claim the missile, and when Bob objects, Agiza takes the weapon by force. Meanwhile, in Georgetown, D.C., Dean Whiting, the head of a prestigious law firm hired by giant Connex Oil to ensure that the corporation's proposed merger with Killen Oil will be approved by the Justice Department, charges Bennett Holiday, an ambitious black attorney who works at the firm, with the responsibility of investigating how Killen, a small Texas oil company headed by Jimmy Pope, won the drilling rights to the lucrative fields in Kazakhstan. The approval of the merger is critical to Connex, which lost its long-held rights to drill in an oil-rich Persian emirate when the country’s foreign minister, Prince Nasir Al-Subaai, the son and heir of Emir Hamed Al-Subaai, awarded the rights to the higher bid of the People’s Republic of China. As a result of the company’s loss of its drilling rights in the Persian Gulf, Connex lays off the legion of Pakistani immigrants who have left their country to work in the oil fields. Among those affected are Wasim Ahmed Khan and his father Saleem, who despite the bleakness of his prospects, still dreams of bringing his wife from Pakistan to live with them. Upon returning to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, Bob rankles his superiors by sending memos regarding the urgency of finding the missing missile, a loss that, if publicized, could cause untold problems for the agency. To silence Bob, the agency decides to promote him to a desk job as head of the Iran Bureau, but Bob sabotages his job interview by criticizing the reform movement in Iran and its relationship with the Committee to Liberate Iran, the CLI, a group of powerful U.S. businessmen bent on overthrowing the fundamentalist government of Iran to gain control of the country’s oil fields. Because the CIA is also concerned about U.S. interests in the region, Bob's superior at the CIA sends Bob to assassinate Nasir, lying that Nasir has been funding the purchase of weapons to be used against the U.S. Before leaving, Bob meets with his college-age son Robby, who resents the rootless life his government agent parents have foisted upon him as a result of their work with the CIA. At the Emir’s estate in Marbella, Spain, Bryan Woodman, an analyst at an energy trading company in Geneva, arrives with his wife Julie and young sons Max and Riley. The Emir has invited Bryan to delineate his company’s proposition for maximizing the resources of the oil field. Disappointed when he discovers he will not be meeting with the Emir, but rather his emissaries, Bryan puts forth stale ideas that the emissaries have heard many times before. As night falls, the lights in the estate’s pool switch on, triggering an undetected short in the wiring. Soon after, Bryan’s son Max jumps into the water and is electrocuted. Max’s death wrenches apart the Woodman family, and Bryan finds himself estranged from his wife and other son and unable to function in his job. In the emirate, Wasim and his father are unable to find jobs and consequently are forced to report to immigration, where they are pushed and clubbed into submission by members of the military, who despise the Pakistani outsiders. In Washington, Bennett learns from Donald Farish III, his former law professor who is now an assistant attorney general, that the Justice Department has proof that Killen paid off someone for the rights to the Kazakhstan oil fields. Bennett, who knows his future with the firm depends on his uncovering any Killen improprieties, is being pressured by Whiting to find the person who served as the conduit for the bribe. Later, Whiting, determined to overturn the Chinese oil deal, visits the Emir’s younger son, Prince Meshal Al-Subaai. Meshal, who values his yachts and horses more than the welfare of his people, welcomes Whiting’s offer to assure his ascendancy to the throne in exchange for restoring Connex’s drilling rights. Meanwhile, Wasim, his face bruised from the beating, finds solace in the words of a cleric who teaches at the madrassa, or fundamentalist Islamic school. With his friend Farooq, Wasim listens as the cleric preaches that the Koran provides an antidote to the failures of Western liberal society. Later, Agiza approaches Wasim and Farooq at the school and recruits them to be suicide bombers. Feeling guilty for Max’s death, Prince Nasir, a compassionate ruler bent on reforming his country’s moribund oil economy, invites Bryan to Mecca to offer his firm the rights to develop a parcel of the oil field. Alienated and disillusioned, Bryan denounces the deal as stupid and accuses the emirate of squandering its wealth. When Nasir acknowledges Bryan’s criticism and asks his opinion, Bryan proposes that the country could save middle-man costs by building pipelines rather than transporting its oil on tankers. Impressed, Nasir later appoints Bryan to be his economic advisor. In Beirut, Bob contacts his field agent, Mussawi, to arrange for Nasir’s assassination. Bryan and Nasir also have come to Beirut on business, and their paths cross Bob's when they share a hotel elevator with him. After going to his room, Bob watches as Mussawi’s men arrive to kidnap Nasir. Instead of going to Nasir’s room, however, the men burst into Bob’s room, bind him with duct tape and shove him into a body bag, which they toss into their car trunk. Later, Bob is tethered to a chair in a grimy room, where Mussawi, who, unknown to Bob, has betrayed the CIA and now works for Iran, threatens to torture Bob unless he reveals the names of the people he has bribed over the course of his career. When Bob refuses, Mussawi pulls out his fingernails and is about to behead him when a representative from Said Hossein Hashimi, the head of Hezbollah who has guaranteed Bob’s safety in Beirut, suddenly appears and orders Bob freed. Bob revives from his ordeal and finds himself in the now-deserted room, while at the madrassa, Agiza shows Farooq and Wasim the stolen Stinger missile and demonstrates how to arm it. When Mussawi circulates the story that the CIA sent Bob to assassinate Nasir, the CIA decides to portray Bob as a rogue agent in order to debunk Mussawi’s accusation. After poring through mountains of files concerning Killen’s business deals, Bennett finally comes upon a wire transfer to an elite school in Switzerland attended by the children of a Kazakhstan official. Because the transfer was signed by Danny Dalton, a Texas oilman working with Danny Pope, and a member of the CLI, Bennett realizes that the document could appease the Justice Department by proving an illegal money link between Killen and Kazakhstan. Bennett then goes to inform his superior, Sydney Hewitt, Connex’s Washington counsel, who is attending a meeting of the CLI. Although they are relieved that in Dalton, they have found a scapegoat to end the Justice Department’s investigation into the merger, Connex president Tommy Barton and the other oil executives firmly believe that business feeds on corruption. In the Gulf, Nasir and Bryan’s dream of reform is derailed when Meshal and Whiting convince the Al-Subaai cousins to sue the Emir, demanding that he appoint Meshal as the new ruler, because Meshal will invalidate the Chinese contract and reinstate the oil rights to Connex. Bennett’s success at the law firm is also jeopardized when Farish informs him that the Justice Department will not approve the merger until they can indict a major executive at Connex or Killen, thus providing an illusion of due diligence on their part. Increasingly disillusioned by the cynicism of government and business, Bennett begins to understand why his father, whom he holds in contempt, has given up on the system and turned into a hopeless alcoholic. Upon returning to the United States, Bob is stonewalled by his superiors and denied access to CIA files and has his passport seized as he discovers that his loyalty is being questioned. Feeling betrayed, Bob visits Stan Goff, a former colleague at the CIA who became disillusioned with the agency and left to become an independent consultant. Stan, who has been looking into Bob’s betrayal by the CIA, explains that the CIA wants to eliminate Nasir because they are worried that he will not allow U.S. military bases in his country. Stan also reveals that the CIA has teamed with Whiting to ensure that Meshal, rather than Nasir, will be the new Emir. Outraged by his government’s collusion with big business to impact the political course of a country, Bob confronts Whiting, who coolly informs him that he has been used and lied to during his entire career at the agency. As Bob flies back to the emirate to warn Nasir, Nasir and Bryan meet with the emirate’s generals to convince them to support Nasir over Meshal. When the generals throw their support behind Nasir, a motorcade containing Nasir and his supporters drives to the palace to stop Meshal’s coronation. Bob, meanwhile, who has learned of the proceedings, tries to intercept Nasir along the highway before the CIA can assassinate him. In Texas, when Bennett informs Pope that the government approval of the merger depends on the indictment of a major oil official, Pope, aware that if the government investigation continues, they all could be indicted, decides to scapegoat Hewitt for making an illegal financial deal related to the merger. Meanwhile, after being informed by Agiza that the time has come for his suicide mission, Wasim goes to say goodbye to his father, who is unaware he will never see his son again. At the Connex-Killen loading facility in the Gulf, Connex executives celebrate the return of their company to the region. At the same time, CIA officials are monitoring Nasir’s motorcade on their spy satellite, and when they see the Bob’s vehicle speeding to intercept Nasir, they program a remote-controlled missile to home in on Nasir’s car. Just as Bob manages to stop the motorcade and reach Nasir’s car, the missile is triggered, rendering Nasir’s car into a pile of rubble and killing Nasir, his wife, his children and Bob. Bryan, who was being driven in a separate car, watches the conflagration in horror. At that moment, Bennett, Pope and Whiting are attending a tribute to Leland Janus, the CEO of Connex, who thanks Meshal, the new Emir, and acknowledges him as one of “Connex’s strategic friends.” In the Gulf, Wasim and Farooq arm their missile and aim their fishing boat directly at a Connex oil tanker. Afterward, the students at the Islamic school watch the video Wasim made before committing suicide, in which he declares “the next world is the true life.” As Bryan returns home to his wife and son, Bob’s files at his CIA office are being readied for storage. Upon returning home, Bennett finds his father waiting on the doorstep, and for the first time in his life, shows compassion for the old man. +

Legend
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Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.