Body of Lies (2008) Ridley Scott

Production Budget: $70 million
Worldwide Gross: $44 million

This is my original review when I first saw it.  I figured I would put some of my movies which I wasn’t sure at the time would be bombs but are confirmed now.

Before I get into anything, who was the drugged up dipsh*t who made up the trailer.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the actual movie.  The trailer would have you believe Crowe’s character was having a private war with DiCaprio’s character.  It makes it look like Crowe is setting up plots to kill DiCaprio and that Crowe’s character is bent and corrupt.  That is not what this movie is about.  What is really weird is that the dialog in the trailer is cut from all over the movie and not just between Crowe’s and DiCaprio’s character.  So now you have our title characters making threatening statements against other characters, but are now making it look like in the trailer that they are threatening each other.  I just can’t believe that.  I literally have to ask what they were smoking when they made the trailer.

Anyway, the movie is about a terrorist which is setting off random suicide bombings all around Europe.    Two operatives of the CIA (played by Crowe and DiCaprio) are trying to find and eliminate this terror cell, but they clash on how to do it.  They have set up many different operations which are clashing and destroying each others plans.  The two decide they need more help and enlist the help of the Jordanian intelligence services and their leader is Hani (played by Mark Strong).

Body of Lies tries to have its cake and eat it to by having it’s message of how screwed up the intelligence service is, while at the same time having rousing action scenes.  While the movie overall is good, neither side is really great.  Russell Crowe is good I guess, but I feel he is really wasted here.  He shows up occasionally to  give a “Hey Buddy!” but he is not really splitting the bill as the trailers and posters would suggest.  And you have someone of Crowe’s physicality sitting behind a desk just talking, which feels even more like a waste.  This is really DiCaprio’s movie which is not necessarily a bad thing.  DiCaprio does a good job as the young idealistic CIA ground operative and is effective in the action scenes.  Mark Strong really steals the movie though as the intense Jordanian intelligence man.  He brings such a quiet power to his role that you really notice him in every scene he is in.

As I said, the movie is good but is lacking in some areas.  The plot and the writing are good, but then we are sidetracked by an extremely shoe horned romance angle and a need to wrap everything up in the final third.  The intrigue is nicely done and the message isn’t hammered to heavily.  Overall, this is a good film.  Good, but could have been better.  I recommend it overall and was a little surprised it did so badly considering all the talent involved.  You would think the names involved would put a few more a**es in the seats.

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