Body of Lies

Terrific Middle East Thriller, 27 November 2008

Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom

Despite an ambivalent response from the Critics this is the best Hollywood effort yet about the intrigues of the modern Middle East. Sir Ridley Scott produces a densely plotted, yet accessible, thriller which steers clear of the failings of other efforts in the genre so far. Di Caprio produces yet another fine performance as a high flying young CIA Station Chief, Ferris, in Amman, and Crowe gives a scintillating performance as Hoffman ,his bloated, arrogant, corpulent boss back at Langley.

Skilfully, Scott throws in the crowd pleasing elements, “there are some people who don’t want to be negotiated with”, and the, literally, knife edge release of Ferris, amidst a much more even handed exploration of the geo-politics of International Terrorism. Aisha, Ferris’s love interest, an Iranian born nurse ,becomes an innocent pawn in this battle of wits, and the Jordanian head of Intelligence outwits the CIA at their own game.

Al Qaeda’s cynical atrocities are matched by the cynical indifference of the CIA to achieve their own objectives, whatever the cost. Hoffman coolly gives life and death telephone instructions whilst attending to various mundane family duties. The cinematography is superb with lush, yet grimly authentic images abounding. As is Scott’s, trademark, the action sequences are superb, yet show commendable restraint. When people are shot, they stay shot.

The three obvious predecessors to this, The Kingdom, Rendition, and Lions for Lambs were all flawed by the requirement for there to be an American Hero to win over the home audience. “Body of Lies” attempts, and largely succeeds in conveying a much more morally ambiguous landscape. A triumph of film making which I suspect will attract greater accolades once the froth of the opening box office has subsided.

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