Review: Body of Lies
Plot: C.I.A operative-Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio), under the guidance of his handler, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) sets in motion an elaborate plot designed to nab the leader of a murderous terrorist cell operating out of Yemen.
Review: I had high expectations for BODY OF LIES. I mean, címon- a spy thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Russell Crowe, directed by Ridley Scott, and written by William Monahan- how could it possibly not be amazing? Quite easily, it seems- as this is Scottís worst film in awhile (and this is coming from someone who even kind of liked A GOOD YEAR).
To be fair- the first half hour of BODY OF LIES is actually pretty damn good. Things start off with a bang- literally, as Scott takes us inside a terrorist cell operating in Manchester, England, that gets into a messy showdown with British authorities. The action then jumps to Iraq, where DiCaprio and his local partner get into a major firefight with some insurgents- the result of which leaves DiCaprio recuperating in a military hospital before being sent to Jordan. While in Jordan he hooks up with the suave, urbane head of Jordanian intelligence- Hani, played with by the ridiculously charismatic Mark Strong.
The trouble starts once DiCaprio, after a harrowing foot chase, once again ends up in a hospital, where he meets a pretty Muslim nurse named Aisha (played by Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani). They two embark on a romance which is not the least bit convincing and feels ridiculously tacked on to what began as a rather nifty spy thriller. It almost seems like the only reason she exists is to humanize DiCaprio`s character- but the filmmakers fail to convince us that this highly unlikely relationship could ever exist in the real world. The film totally goes off the track here- and never recovers.
Eventually- the romance takes a back seat, and we once again plunge into the spy plot, but by this point the film has totally lost momentum. The big plot hatched by DiCaprio to nab the terrorist mastermind is actually fairly smart- but at this point the film begins to build to a big climax that never really comes. By the time the film ends- it seems really anti-climatic and disappointing.
However- despite its many flaws, BODY OF LIES is not exactly what I`d call a bad film. The technical aspects of the film (cinematography, music, editing) are all top notch- and the acting from all of the players is excellent. DiCaprio continues his string of top-notch performances, and Crowe, despite his limited role- is also very good. That said- the real MVP here is Mark Strong, who owns every scene he`s in. At times I was wishing that he was the lead instead of DiCaprio as his character was far more interesting.
Overall, BODY OF LIES was quite a disappointing film- but hardly a bad one. If you`re a fan of this type of film you should definitely check it out, as despite all the flaws, it`s still worth seeing. While I much preferred the similarly themed THE KINGDOM, BODY OF LIES is still passable entertainment-but definitely not on par with the usual DiCaprio, Crowe, or Ridley Scott output.