Body of Lies


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Rating: R

Leonardo DiCaprio as Roger Ferris
Russell Crowe as Ed Hoffman
Mark Strong as Hani Salaam
Golshifteh Farahani as Aisha
Oscar Isaac as Bassam
Ali Suliman as Omar Sadiki
Alon Abutbul as Al-Saleem
Vince Colosimo as Skip
Simon McBurney as Garland
Mehdi Nebbou as Nizar
Michael Gaston as Holiday
Kais Nashif as Mustafa Karami
Jamil Khoury as Marwan
Lubna Azabal as Aisha’s Sister Cala

Directed by Ridley Scott

Special Features:
– Audio Commentary with director Ridley Scott, screenwriter William Monahan, and author David Ignatius
– Actionable Intelligence: Deconstructing Body of Lies documentary
– Interactive Debriefing
– Deleted scenes
– Digital Copy of the film (2nd disc)

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French, Spanish, and Portuguese Language
French, Spanish, and Portuguese Track
Running Time: 128 Minutes

The Movie:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Trust No One. Deceive Everyone.

The CIA’s hunt is on for the mastermind of a wave of terrorist attacks. Roger Ferris is the agency’s man on the ground, moving from place to place, scrambling to stay ahead of ever-shifting events. An eye in the sky – a satellite link – watches Ferris. At the other end of that real-time link is the CIA’s Ed Hoffman, strategizing events from thousands of miles away. And as Ferris nears the target, he discovers trust can be just as dangerous as it is necessary for survival.

Leonardo DiCaprio (as Ferris) and Russell Crowe (as Hoffman) star in ‘Body of Lies,’ adapted by William Monahan (‘The Departed’) from the David Ignatius novel. Ridley Scott (‘American Gangster,’ ‘Black Hawk Down’) directs this impactful tale, orchestrating exciting action sequences and plunging viewers into a bold spy thriller for our time.”

“Body of Lies” is rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language throughout.

Seeing that this film was created by Ridley Scott, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Russell Crowe, I was pretty excited to check out “Body of Lies.” And while it ended up being an interesting story with solid performances, it was also rather dull for much of its long running time.

You often hear war described as long periods of boredom punctuated by brief moments of sheer terror. That’s how you could describe “Body of Lies.” When there is action, it is intense and engaging. Leonardo DiCaprio handles the action well and the chase scenes set in Iraq and Jordan are very impressive. But it’s the rest of the film that can be a bit tedious to get through. It takes a long time to get to the core of the story and there’s a lot of build up and detours that make the going slow. If you’re looking for a non-stop thriller, this isn’t that movie.

While I liked DiCaprio’s performance, I thought Crowe’s was a tired, overdone stereotype. In his performance as Hoffman, he plays the CIA executive with a thick Southern accent, a cowboy attitude, and complete cultural ignorance. While I’m sure the CIA has their fair share of people like this, I also feel like this is the way they’re portrayed almost all the time in movies. He doesn’t make an interesting character because of that. Hoffman comes across as little more than a thinly veiled potshot at the Bush administration when he could have been more.

The rest of the movie is very well done as you would expect from any Ridley Scott film. The supporting cast is excellent, the cinematography is beautiful, and the settings are exotic and impressive. I’d even agree with the overall message of the film – the war on terrorism is best led by those in the trenches rather than disassociated people in offices in Washington.

If you like political dramas or are a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, then this film will probably be right up your alley. If you’re expecting an action adventure, you’re looking in the wrong place.

The Blu-ray version of this DVD has a modest offering of bonus features. You’ll find an Audio Commentary with director Ridley Scott, screenwriter William Monahan, and author David Ignatius. You’ll also find deleted scenes and a making-of documentary.
And while the actors don’t take part in the commentary, they do take part in a discussion on the film with Ridley Scott covering themes from the film.