Star-studded cast, muddled plot fails to impress in `Body of Lies`
It`s been seven years since the September
11 attacks and five since the Iraq war began. The war on terror is unclear,
confusing and too immediate to get any kind of proper perspective. The movie
"Body Of Lies" doesn`t make it any easier for us to understand. It is
a muddle of a movie, albeit with good intentions which, while trying to make too
profound a statement, gets itself into an unnecessary mess.
The movie is populated by too many characters and there are too many strands of
sub-plots to follow to create any kind of coherent reaction. It`s a shame
because the stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, along with director
Ridley Scott and a fine script by William Monahan, have all been excellent in
DiCaprio does a fine job and just might be the only bright spot. Scott again
falls into the trap of trying to make a profound statement and thus allowing
himself to get bogged down. The script by Monahan is big let down especially
since he did a great job with the Oscar winning "The Departed".
The plot, when it actually makes sense, revolves around the American spy Roger
Ferris working in Jordan even as he receives orders from his boss (Crowe) from
his home in the US. Ferris is trying to catch terrorists with the help of the
Jordanian security chief Hani (Mark Strong). Matters get complicated with close
associates not revealing all the information, Ferris getting romantically
involved with a local nurse (Golshifteh Farahani). Things get a little bit more
resolved towards the end but not before a fair bit of head scratching and lack
The characters are not allowed to be fleshed out and we find it hard to connect
with them. But Dicaprio does a fine job of relaying the importance of looking at
the players in this war as humans as opposed to his boss who considers everyone
The supporting actors all give a fine performance with Mark Strong clearly
making a mark. He holds his weight opposite the likes of DiCaprio and Crowe. The
Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani gets few scenes and provides some
refreshingly light moments. But even the sub-plot involving her in the end seems
The movie respects the situation in the Middle East and tries to express the
nuance of complexity. It might have done its job unintentionally by confusing
us. But it fails to make us empathise with the many innocent people who continue
to be unfortunate victims.
For those looking for a well made movie anchoring itself in an increasingly
complex mess hoping to learn a little bit more and at the same time being
entertained, this movie will satisfy.
He is the best man US Intelligence has on the ground, a sophisticated operative
negotiating hot zones while no one close to him makes it out alive.
But Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a man with no identity beyond his
last blown cover, trusting his life to the dispassionate voice on the other end
of a secure phone line.
CIA veteran Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) wages war from a
laptop in his living room in the suburbs, dictating Ferris’s movements even as
he dodges bullets on the ground.Anemerging terrorist leader has orchestrated a global campaign of bombings,
eluding the most sophisticated intelligence network in the world.
To lure him out into the open, Ferris will have to penetrate the world of
underground financing and desperate martyrs, and form a shaky alliance with the
head of Jordanian Special Ops.Hisquest takes him across Iraq, Jordan, Washington and Dubai, but the closer Ferris
gets to the target, the more he finds himself caught in a hall of mirrors, where
allies are only as good as their last deception, and trust becomes the most
dangerous tactic of all.