Published Oct 09, 2008Attempting to be a geopolitical thriller that emphasizes the smug and detached perspectives of the men, both Western and Eastern, who manipulate and exploit those within the line of fire, Body of Lies has some aesthetic heave but is so structurally inept and contrived that its difficult not to groan at every creaking turn.
Exacerbating this issue is some slightly outdated terrorist intelligence that tries to reveal the new age of information gathering that simplifies the issue and ignores both Palestinian pride in martyrdom and the global filtration of terrorist information and funds that reach much further than America and the Middle East. It is not a lack of knowledge that creates these issues, as clearly a great deal of research went into the story when it was written, but more an issue of overlooking some glaring realities for the sake of a dramatic arc that, as mentioned, should only fool the foolish with its obvious intentions.
Based on David Ignatiuss 2007 novel about a CIA operative, Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio), who learns of a terrorist ringleader operating out of Jordan, Body of Lies examines his efforts to infiltrate the ring while being used and manipulated by both his government, embodied by Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), and Jordan criminal intelligence, embodied by Hani (Mark Strong).
In between the many life-threatening scenarios, Ferris develops a hard-on for an Iranian nurse living in Jordan named Aisha (Golshifteh Farahani), which as one can only imagine, has a purpose outside of showing what a charming guy Ferris can be.
Scotts borderline fetishistic obsession with slow-motion explosions, aerial tracking shots and purposefully juxtaposed colour schemes matches the material well, as many of the action sequences are really quite tense and impressively crafted, but his slatternly attempts at emotional urgency are often amusing.
Visually oriented individuals looking for some inherently male knuckle-dragging antics should be pleased with the on-screen pissing contest but everyone else will have to make due with minor amusements and a better-than-usual performance from DiCaprio. (Warner)