Trust no one. Deceive everyone.
Running Time: 128 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
Body of Lies is a good, satisfying drama/action movie in a sub-genre that has had a surprisingly low success rateterrorism. Given the current political climate, movies about the Middle East are particularly timely, but maybe its that timeliness that keeps audiences away for the most partmaybe its all a little too close for comfort, and people are really just looking for escape in their entertainment these days. Thats a shame, really, because even though its gritty and realistic in its execution, director Ridley Scotts latest is still engaging and entertaining, never showing its political leanings by choosing instead to present the idea that its the people, not the politics, that create and defuse international upheaval all around the world.
C.I.A. guy Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is hard at work on a mission in the Middle East when he and his handler Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) figure out theres some shady terrorist action going on in Jordan. Ferris and Hoffman are aided in their quest by the countrys Head of Intelligence (Mark Strong), but its not long before loyalties are tested and Ferris learns he can never be too sure who he can trust.
Ridley Scott is one of those rare directors who seems to be able to dive right in to any genre and make ticket-price-worthy film. Gladiator? Aliens? In this sorrowfully underwatched thriller, Scott manages to blend intrigue, politics, action, character development, and even romance into a robust finished product that grabs our attention from the beginning and holds on, making us actually care what happensnot always a given in the average political thriller. DiCaprio, Crowe, and Strong all bring something extra to their time onscreen, with special kudos going to Leo for continuing to become a pretty convincing badass. The best thing, though, that Scott pulls off is giving this richly layered story room to grow without allowing it to become overwhelmingthere are shifting allegiances and bombs and guns and quick talk everywhere, but even in its complexity, the plot remains clear, and were never distracted with So what just happened? thoughts. Overall, even with its relevant political locale and all, politics per se give way to just pure story, so theres no persistent feeling that youre being fed a line of propagandaone government isnt evil or bad, but people certainly can be.
It's Got: A clear but layered story, Good stuff from its main guys.
It Needs: To not have been lumped in with all the other Middle East movies.
Ridley Scott plus Russell Crowe plus Leonardo DiCaprio plus political intrigue and action equal a thoroughly engaging thriller that will hopefully find more success on DVD than it did in theaters.