Body Of Lies

"OK"

Body Of Lies Review


No matter their talent, actors, directors, producers, and editors will always have difficulty overcoming a flawed script, and William Monahan's Body of Lies screenplay is broken beyond the point of repair. A bewildering mishmash of double-crosses, cover-ups, and clichés, Monahan's treatment unfortunately undermines some terrific performances and a solid outing for director Ridley Scott.

Lies is based on Washington Post columnist David Ignatius' 2007 novel about CIA agent Roger Ferris (Leonardo Dicaprio), a well-trained operative on a deep-undercover assignment to track the elusive Al Qaeda terrorist leader Al-Saleem (Alon Abutbul). Dubbed "the white whale," Al-Saleem has been plotting suicide bombings on European and American soil to avenge the blood spilt by U.S. and U.K. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ferris has two known allies in his fight. Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), head of the CIA's Near East division, dictates directives via cell phone from his Langley office. Meanwhile, on the ground in Jordan, Ferris cooperates with the diplomatic Hani (Mark Strong), whose connections to the Middle Eastern militia make him the Don Vito Corleone of our war on terror.

Lies deals in doom-and-gloom doses of reality served to an audience which currently receives more than enough bad news by staying at home and watching the evening news. We're warned that our enemies in the Middle East grow smarter each day, adopting outdated methods of communication so they can stay off the grid and avoid technology-dependent CIA trackers. The film's position on Iraq wavers. Ferris complains that we're not supposed to be there. Hoffman, who embodies the Patriot Act, argues that since we are there already, it's okay to do whatever it takes to complete the mission. Ferris goes along with that extreme logic, then feels remorse after he sells out an informant or betrays Hani's trust.

As the title suggests, Lies also dispenses untold falsities, misdirections, half-truths, and deceptions. Monahan has penned a land mine of confusion that blows this thriller to smithereens. Allies shift, rules constantly change, covers are blown, and safe houses are exposed. DiCaprio barks at Crowe for "interfering" in his mission, though we're often unclear what the mission was, how Crowe disrupted it, or even why he prevented Leo from accomplishing said goal. The only truthful thing I can tell you is that I never understood exactly what was happening, to whom it was happening, or even why.

At least some came here to play. Lies features great work by director of photography Alexander Witt (American Gangster, Casino Royale), who peers through surveillance cameras and climbs to satellite-level heights to scan the arid deserts of Jordan (really Morocco). DiCaprio and Crowe are excellent, though each do completely different things for the good of the film. It's a beautiful sight seeing Crowe pack on pounds and hunch his dominant frame to portray a good-old-boy bureaucrat. Both megastars are upstaged by Strong, however. His Middle Eastern mafioso is silky smooth, intense, intelligent, and deadly. Look for him in an equally intimidating role as part of Guy Ritchie's cracking crime caper RockNRolla.

At least computers don't lie.



Body Of Lies

Facts and Figures

Run time: 128 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th October 2008

Box Office USA: $39.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $113.3M

Budget: $70M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Scott Free Productions, De Line Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Fresh: 110 Rotten: 93

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Charles J.D. Schlissel

Starring: as Roger Ferris, as Ed Hoffman, as Hani, Ali Suliman as Omar Sadiki, as Garland, as Holiday, Mehdi Nebbou as Nizar, Golshifteh Farahani as Aisha, as Bassam, Alon Aboutboul as Al-Saleem, as Skip, Kais Nashif as Mustafa Karami, Jamil Khoury as Marwan, as Aisha's Sister Cala, Ghali Benlafkih as Aisha's Nephew Rowley, Clara Khoury as Bessam's wife, as Hoffman's Wife

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.