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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Film Review - Body Of Lies

Body of Lies (15)

Dir. Ridley Scott

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Cinemagoers prepare to sign up and to do your part for the War on Terror,you’ll be working alongside crack CIA field agent Roger Ferris (LeonardoDiCaprio) in various hostile Middle Eastern locations.Your dangerous covert operations will be directed by smooth US basedoperative Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), who juggles your missions but mightnot be telling you everything you need to know.Ferris runs around Jordan, Iraq and Turkey hunting down nasty a BinLaden-ish Al-Saleem (Alon Aboutboul) and blowing terrorist fanatics awaywith extreme prejudice whilst Hoffman talks to him via a satellite linkheadset. There is an effective juxtaposition of Hoffman ordering the killsof suspects whilst ferrying his kids to football games or kissing them goodnight and tucking them into bed.There’s not a lot new here though – we’ve seen the ‘America andEurope are easy targets’ rhetoric many times before in films like last year’s The Kingdom (which packed less brain cells but ramped up theaction) and the older / younger spy formula has been even been effectivelyworked through by Scott’s younger brother Tony in Spy Game. So Body ofLies walks a fairly well trodden if horribly relevant path but Ridley‘Blade Runner’ Scott is a director who always delivers good looking movies even if they don’t completely captivate.There are several wham bam action scenes including a desert based carchase that would have fitted well into Quantum of Solace but even with the occasional shootout there are not enough set pieces to warrant callingthis an action thriller. Somehow ‘socio-political-analysis thriller’doesn’t have quite the same ring to it though.

Both the leads are effective especially Crowe who has plumped up for hisslimy role, even if DiCaprio still looks too boyishly young to be ahardened CIA veteran operative. Able support is on hand in the form ofMark Strong who plays Hani Salaam, the formidable and suave JordanianDirector of Intelligence along with an effective love interest for Ferrisin the form of sultry nurse Aisha (the lovely Golshifteh Farahani).Body of Lies probably isn’t going to change anyone’s world view but itis stylish and despite its simplistic depiction of the shades of greyamongst both friends and allies it makes for a mildly thought provokingevening out.

DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööö (7)

+ Engaging if simplistic

Tasty Action: öööööööö (8)

+ Some very exciting action scenes

Gratuitous Babeness: ööööööö (7)

+ Golshifteh Farahani is cute

Mind Blight / Boredom: öööööö (6)

+ Not dull

Comedic Value: öööö (4)

+ Not a comedy whatever you think of American foreign policy

Arbitrary final rating: öööööö (7)

Does a stylish job of entertaining but no classic

Liable to make you:

"sign up for some covert ops"

DM Poster Quote:

“target identified - lock on to audience boredom..."

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