Body of Lies (2008) – Review

2 Stars

Ridley Scott’s continuing fascinating with military operations results in the mediocre spy-thriller Body of Lies. Unlike his brother Tony, who succeed in this genre with the excellent Spy Games, Ridley lets the story start and stop then start again so frequently that the film becomes solely an exercise in visual technique and acting. Lost in this sea of jumbled narrative storytelling are two outstanding performances from the always reliable DiCaprio and the more spotty Crowe. These two have an odd father-son relationship/rivalry although neither is related to the other.

DiCaprio is Roger Ferris, a CIA field operation agent located in some of the most hellish environments on earth. After a string of terrorist attacks on allied nations, Ferris is actively pursuing informants to bring down a cell of bad guys. Back on the domestic front the operation is being led by Ed Hoffman (Crowe), the man Ferris believes is deceptive in sharing his intel on ground ops. After losing their best informant in a botched assignment. Hoffman sends Ferris to Jordan to work alongside the head of their intelligence department. The two nation’s shared goal is the capture of notorious terrorist leader “al-Saleem”.

Mixed into this jumbled tale of covert warfare is an awkward romance between Ferris and a Iranian nurse. It is a weak subplot that it hits all the clichés on its way to the predictable outcome. In honesty that could be said for the entire script. Ridley Scott is such a visual technician that his style often overwhelms the story. When both are of equal strength the result is Gladiator, when the scales are tipped in one director the product is this sleek-looking but monotonous mess.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong

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