Body of Lies
Out Now On-Demand
Action thriller that takes the conflict in the Middle East as its starting point, based on the novel by Washington Post column David Ignatius and adapted for the screen by The Departed's William Monahan. Roger Ferris (DiCaprio) is a CIA operative tasked to track down an Al Qaeda leader in Jordan. To see his plan through he must earn the backing of the reluctant, Jordan based CIA vet Ed Hoffman (Crowe) as well as members of the Jordanian government. The only way to complete the mission is too entrust his life to these people, thought it becomes apparent he cannot fully trust them.
- William Monahan (based on the novel by David Ignatius)
Drama, Thriller, True Story & Biography
Rating: M Violence & Offensive Language
With no time spent on introductions, we're dropped right in with the wirey-bearded DiCaprio, as his character Roger Ferris works on the ground in Iraq for the CIA, trying to infiltrate a terrorist cell responsible for some shocking bombings in England. A bulked-up Crowe - almost looking like John Goodman - plays Ferris' boss Ed Hoffman, who spends his time directing proceedings from the comfort of spy planes or casually dealing with international espionage via his hands-free cellphone while taking his kids to school.
It's a good set up – allowing the two to argue about the difference between making operational decisions from a distance and making them in the field when people are being tortured and killed before your eyes. Unfortunately, when things should be tightly coiled and tense, they tend to meander, before the plot is pretty much derailed by an ill-fitting romance, implausibly squeezed into the proceedings to give DiCaprio something to lose.
All the elements you'd expect from a War On Terror drama are present and correct in Body of Lies - explosions, intrigue, tactical ingenuity, moral compromises and plot twists - but they just don't coalesce into a film that rises above the pack. This is an uninspired middle rank action drama given some style and marketability by a dynamic and watchable leading man. Far from Ridley Scott's - or anyone else's - finest hour.
The Dominion Post [Graeme Tuckett]
Village Voice [USA]
Indeed this film dragged. And seemed overly, (for lack of a better word), American. Haven't we had enough of this target the enemy kind of plot line. The film lacked cleverness. It wasn't tricky or surprising. In fact i failed to identify with any of the leads. Better luck next time.
This didn't wash for me, I was bored in parts. Started to get into gear towards the end, making it just worth the watch. But not overly interesting...
Was bored for the first third, but gradually found myself drawn into this story. Ludicrous ending, but found this to be a good political thriller for the most part. Always impressed at Ridley Scott's productions. Didn't linger much in the mind afterwards, though. Russell Crowe not in the movie as much as you'd expect. Mark Strong was great.