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(George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet, Tim Blake Nelson, Michelle Monaghan, et al / R / 87 mins / Dreamworks)

Overview: The story focuses on the CIA, telling the story of how the spy group lost funding and failed to keep an adequate eye on the Middle East after the end of the Cold War. Specifically, agent Robert Baer, upon whose memoir this film is based, is a central figure.

Verdict: 'Syriana' is an engrossing, insider's tour of the world's hottest spots, grandest schemes and most dangerous men. A troubling vision of how terrorism and 'martyrdom' occur on both sides of this ghostly war, the film transcends its obvious timeliness to say some elemental things about personal loyalty and institutional betrayal. I short, this is a movie that sticks its political neck out, that throbs with dread, paranoia and outrage. Watch it and learn!