Review: Body of Lies (2008)

Body of Lies Poster

“See, what’s changed is that our allegedly unsophisticated enemy has caught on to the factually unsophisticated truth – we’re an easy target. We are an easy target. And our world as we know it is a lot simpler to put to an end than you might think.”
– Ed Hoffman

Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a Middle East CIA operative, and incredibly good at what he does. He has rapidly climbed the ranking ladder, and works hand in hand with Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), who is his control back at Langley. Ferris is hunting terrorist Al-Saleem (Alon Abutbul), who is bombing on an international level. After gathering intelligence and being almost bombed to death, Ferris’s recovery has him posted to Jordan to continue his search for Al-Saleem. Ferris meets with Hani Salaam (Mark Strong), who is head of the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate, and brings him into the loop. Ferris is sure that he can use the Jordanians for help, though the only rule is not to lie to Hani.

“You Americans, you are incapable of secrecy because you are a democracy.” – Hani

When Hoffman screws Ferris over by performing his own side missions, they two butt heads. Injured in Hoffman’s side-op, Ferris goes to a local hospital and meets nurse Aisha (Golshifteh Farahani) and starts to fall in love with her. Intent on impressing her, he continues to return to her for his rabies shot, though he could go anywhere else. Hani recognizes small time crook Mustaffa Karami (Kais Nashef) and takes him far out into the desert, intent on turning him into Jordanian intelligence. Hoffman wishes to use Karami, but the Jordanian head will not allow it. Hoffman leaves, and Ferris follows.

In Washington Ferris devises a plan. He feels that he has finally uncovered a way to draw Al-Saleem from the woodwork, but the plan needs to be executed in minute detail. They work together and set up Jordanian architect Omar Sadiki (Ali Suliman), a harmless civilian, to be the next big terrorist. Al-Saleem was unrivaled, before, but Sadiki is his nemesis, his competition, and needs to be taken care of. Ferris feeds Hani the lies of the newest terrorist on the block, and use him to make the ploy seem far more realistic than it really is. The master plan is rapidly falling apart around his ears when Ferris goes to see Aisha and realizes that she has been kidnapped.

Cooking up the master plan

With their plan going very well then hurriedly turning sour, Ferris needs to find a way to fix his royal screw up without any more body count. Aisha is in danger, as well as himself, and Hani has turned his back on Ferris because of the lies that he was fed, even after their deal was for truth to be the only method of communication. Will Ferris survive this, will Hoffman ever learn any real lessons, and will the war in the Middle East ever end?

A 6/10 for Body of Lies. Russell Crowe was amazing in this movie, I thoroughly enjoyed the life he gave his character, though he was an ass. It does not change the fact he rocked the role. Leonardo DiCaprio was great, as always. I felt though that this movie needed to be tightened up in places a bit more, though the idea that they had of “creating” a terrorist was pretty damn cool. It kept you interested, but far too often I found my mind wandering, and then having to reel in back in quickly – so not riveting. I am not sure what I expected of this film, but it is reasonably similar to other movies in this same category, so nothing to blow your mind, make you rethink things or anything like that. The one thing that really saves this film is the performances of Crowe and DiCaprio. There is really not much else to look forward to, to be honest. Far from the greatest film, it is alright to watch, but you will need to keep your wits about you to follow what is going on exactly. It is a serious watch, so unless you have a very serious friends group, I would not really recommend for light movie-night viewing.

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