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Body of Lies
BLU-RAY disk
Mar 5, 2009 By: Sturdy
Body of Lies order
Director:
Ridley Scott

Actors:
Leonardo DiCaprio
Russell Crowe
Mark Strong

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A young, up and coming CIA agent is making a name for himself in the Middle East. But while he tries to make ties with Middle Eastern leaders and accomplish his goals, he has to deal with his counterpart in the States that watches him via satellite. After a shocking betrayal, he realizes who he can and can’t trust.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I was pretty pumped for this film when I read that Ridley Scott was directing Leonardo Dicaprio and Russell Crowe in a modern day espionage thriller. It sounded like it could work, but I was surprised at the negative reception it got when it was released in the theaters. After watching it, I can say that the film succeeds on all levels…except for one. Unfortunately, that one failure is more than enough to ruin the entire film.

While I was watching the film, there was a point where I stopped the film to use the bathroom. In my mind, I felt like I had come to the end of the second act and I probably had another hour left. When I got back and started it back up, it ended three minutes later. I tell you that because of all the thousands of movies I’ve watched over the years, I’ve never seen a movie end like this one. It literally had no third act. I had to check the run time because I thought maybe I had a defective disc. Of course, my disc was fine and the problems came with the script. The script was actually pretty good, it just wasn’t finished.

Unfortunately, the great performances from Leo and Russell and the slick directing of Scott are wasted. I was into the story and loved the banter between the two leads. I would have liked more time with them together, but that would have come in the third act, which we never got. For the same reason, a lot of subplots were never fully explored. Leo’s love interest was a nice addition but underused. Her presence raised more questions than it answered. We also have zero character arc for Russell’s character, but again, it would have come in the third act.

So to recap; we have the beginning of a cool spy film, a betrayal and then it ends. If they had thrown a revenge twist or some sort of closing third act, I think I would’ve given this 3.5 or 4 stars. I had a really good time with what they had, but their efforts were wasted on a script that wasn’t finished.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with Ridley Scott, William Monahan and David Ignatius: I appreciated the inclusion of the book’s author because that made for some interesting discussions comparing the book to the movie. However, this commentary is a little dry. It felt like I was being lectured in a boring college class. The only way I would recommend this is if you’re really, really into the spy stuff and you want to get more details into it. They really don’t focus on the actual film too often.

Interactive Debriefing (18:57): This was way too much work for what we ended up getting. And that’s just a series of interviews with the big three as they discuss the meaning of the film and some tidbits about how it came to be. It’s the kind of stuff you’d find in a making-of featurette.

Deconstructing Body of Lies: You can watch this a number of ways, but I chose to watch it intermixed within the film. It’s basically nine featurettes that come up on screen and give you more information into specific areas of the film. They’re informative, but nothing that will blow you away. I think there’s about 90 minutes worth, so it fills up almost the entire film.

Additional Scenes (15:32): Scott provides an introduction and commentary to these scenes, but none of them would have fixed the problems. I was excited to see the “alternate” ending, but again, since it wasn’t an hour long, it wasn’t any better than what we saw.

There is also a Theatrical Trailer
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Fans of Leo and Russell are sure to check this out, but I think everyone will be disappointed in it to some degree. If you’re intent on seeing it, then I highly recommend a rental first.
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