Sunday, 23 November 2008

REVIEW: Body of lies

Iraq really isn't doing as well as Vietnam in the movie stakes and Body of Lies is most certainly not here to buck that trend. More concerned with espionage and the war on terror, then specifically Iraq itself. Its your standard self-important long winded pseudo-political borefest, and doesn't even have the usual high standard of thesping that goes with the territory.

The story sees Field CIA operative Roger Ferris (Leonardo Di Caprio) and southern accented boss (Russell Crowe) hunting 'al saleem', an intensely unsubtle surrogate for Osama Bin Laden, the co-ordinator of several terrorist activities across the middle east with the help of a local Jordanese Intelligence official (Mark Strong). Hijinx ensue, featuring a iranian nurse/love interest and explosions and gunfights galore. To begin with Di Caprio is strong here, but it seems to be simply the role he played in Blood Diamond skew middle-east and minus South African accent. Is this becoming his autopilot, equivalent to say Al Pacino and his gruff but gifted cop. I sure hope not, because these type of films are rarely any good and he is most definately better then this. Crowe phones it in, literally; but it doesn't mean one can't occassionally enjoy his performance and he makes an underwritten role more memorable. Mark Strong struck a one note, for me. The role wasn't a varied one but he could have done better. But take away the names and this could happily be a Wesley Snipes straight to video vehicle and what Ridley Scott is doing directing this is beyond me. The script has some good dialogue here and there, but it has that over-confident piousness that every William Monahan screenplay does, from Kingdom of Heaven to the Departed. The plot is rambling and unsuccinct, which does not help matters either.

All in all, a blip on everyone's CV, not bad but not good an average film you forget very soon after, much like all films dealing with terrorist attacks so far produced. Avoid

Rating: 5/10

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