Monday, October 27, 2008

Review - Body of Lies

A covert CIA operative, Roger Ferris works in the middle east trying, by any means necessary, to find terrorists who have bombed civilian targets. With the aid of his CIA boss in Langley and a Chief Jordanian Intelligence agent, Ferris creates a plan to infiltrate a high ranking terrorist threat's network. How far will Ferris' alliances stretch in the highly dangerous climate he finds himself in the middle of becomes a very important question.

Ridley Scott is a phenominal director, unfortunately here in Body of Lies the film feels more like four episodes of a new HBO series strung together that leave the viewer asking, "so what?" Based on the Washington Post columnist David Ignatius' 2007 novel, Body of Lies tells the individual storylines of Ferris character that come together to explain a cat & mouse game of lies and trust. The downside is there is nothing new in Body of Lies that really jumps out at the viewer and grabs hold of you. That is not to say that the film isn't good, it's certainly not ground breaking but, ultimately just more of the same.

One would think with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe starring in Body of Lies, the acting alone would carry the film. While Crowe and DiCaprio are good in the film, just like the story, there's nothing to write home about in the duo's performances. DiCaprio delivers a near mirrored performance to his role in Blood Diamond, but here in Body of Lies, it feels uninspired and lackluster. Crowe who spends a majority of the film on the phone, really feels like he just "phoned" in the role. Parden the terrible pun, but his performance is so undeniably boring that the viewer recalls how great Crowe has been in all of his other Scott roles. Both actors are so amazing, it was very surprising to see such a dismal execution in their performances.

Mark Strong did however, deliver a powerful performance as the Chief of Jordanian Intelligence, Hani Salaam. He stole every scene he had with DiCaprio, which is no small feat, considering DiCaprio's esteemed career. Strong is a rising star here in the U.S. and has been building a strong portfolio of films. Here in Body of Lies his performance was a beacon of light in a very dark sky.

Body of Lies isn't a terrible film at all. It's a good film, although much of it isn't that gripping and is quickly forgotten. In a time where most of the film's released currently have been pretty heavy-hitting, Body of Lies has no punching power. Strike that, it has potential power in DiCaprio, Crowe and Scott, but is lost in uninspired performances and a very "been there done that" story. Body of Lies is definately worth a watch, but not worth a cinema visit. Catch it when it releases on DVD or better yet when it hits HBO or Starz.