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BODY OF LIES, 2008
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BODY OF LIES MOVIE POSTER
BODY OF LIES
Movie Reviews

Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe
Review by Eli Manning



SYNOPSIS:

Roger Ferris, Leonardo DiCaprio, is a CIA covert operative working in Jordan searching for terrorists who have been bombing civilian targets. Ferris uncovers information on the Islamist mastermind Al-Saleem (Alon Aboutboul). He devises a plan to infiltrate Al-Saleem's terrorist network with the help of his boss back in Langley, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe). Ferris enlists the help of the Chief of Jordanian Intelligence, Hani Salaam (Mark Strong) on this operation. But he doesn't know how far he can trust him without putting his life in danger.

REVIEW:

This is not your run of the mill Spy-Thriller. Of course, Body of Lies is loaded with A-List talent in director Ridley Scott and its stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. But it's more than that as I was drawn into this story from the first frame. I couldn't help but think that these situations with these character's do take place more often than not. Of course I can't determine how much truth or fiction there actually was in Body Lies Lies, but from my perspective this was as reality as it gets.

Most films take about 5-10 minutes to tell us who each main character is and then gets to the plot and situations. But like the Bourne Identify series, Body of Lies gets right to the plot as we get to know who the character's are by following them through their conflicts.

Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is our main character as we see what he sees in his trying and nerve-racking life. His life is his job and it seems that he's pretty good at it. He is a jaded humanist who likes the Middle East and believes America's best hopes for defeating terrorism lie in open cooperation with our allies in the region. Some would call Ferris an idealist who beliefs are fantasy, others would call him the only realist working with the United States.

Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) is the stateside handler with whom he is in frequent disagreement with. Most of their conversations occur on the phone thousands of miles and many worlds away. As Ferris is in the midst of being shot at in the desert, Hoffman is taking pictures at his daughter's soccer game in suburbia. These conversations are the best part of Body of Lies as it presents us the overall thematic in the film.

Hoffman is the insensitive cynic who declares, "Ain't nobody likes the Middle East. He is an out of shape middle-aged man who seems to have been doing this for far too long. His morals seem to be mixed up OR perhaps he's really the only one who gets it.

Both Crowe and DiCaprio are at their best in Body of Lies. Ridley Scott uses many closeups in this film (much more than what he usually does) as both of these actors are able to convey so much to us with their facial expressions. If you wonder why these two are considered A-List actors, this is the film for you to see to explain why. Their performances are so top notch, I think Body of Lies would be considered a cheesy B Spy film without them. They both seem to really understand the complicated and intelligent characters they are playing. The world is tough and it's easy to get jaded pretty quickly with jobs like these two have. But in order to be good at them, you must have an edge and that 'edge' is what DiCaprio and Crowe give the roles they are playing.

The main plot of Body of Lies deals with Ferris and Hoffman closing in on terrorist mastermind who's behind a series of bombing. They connect with a series of people to help them find their man and with that they (Ferris mainly) are involved in many betrayals, kidnappings, rogue operations and collateral damage. What lost me in the midst of this otherwise excellent film was the whole main character getting involved with a local girl story that you know from the first time they meet will not end well. Why oh why do they continue to resort to this overused plot point in order to determine the conclusion they want? Isn't there a different way? It's harder to do, but of course the harder it is to write, the better it usually is.

Overall Body of Lies is an intelligently written, performed and directed film. The best of the best is a part of this film and because of that it's an entertaining movie.

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