Matt Damon, on his own, getting off the tube at Piccadilly Circus...
"Syriana" is exciting, fascinating, absorbing, diabolical and really quite brilliant, but I'm afraid it inspires reviews that are not helpful. The more you describe it, the more you miss the point. It is not a linear progression from problem to solution. It is all problem. The audience enjoys the process, not the progress. We're like athletes who get so wrapped up in the game we forget about the score.
In a hyperlink movie, the motives of one character may have to be reinterpreted after we meet another one. Consider the Matt Damon character. His family is invited to a party at the luxurious Spanish villa of the Gulf oil sheik whose sons are Nasir and Meshal. At the party, Damon's son dies by accident. The sheik awards Damon's firm a $100 million contract. "How much for my other son?" he asks. This is a brutal line of dialogue, and creates a moment trembling with tension. Later, Damon's wife (Amanda Peet) accuses him of trading on the life of his son. Well, he did take the deal. Should he have turned it down because his son died in an accident? What are Damon's real motives, anyway?
I think "Syriana" is a great film. I am unable to make my reasons clear without resorting to meaningless generalizations. Individual scenes have fierce focus and power, but the film's overall drift stands apart from them. It seems to imply that these sorts of scenes occur, and always have and always will. The movie explains the politics of oil by telling us to stop seeking an explanation. Just look at the behavior. In the short run, you can see who wants oil and how they're trying to get it. In the long run, we're out of oil.