Body of Lies
Ridley Scott has made it clear that he will no longer be making anything that’s much better than a Michael Bay movie. This sucks, I know, but the proof is on his imdb.com page. While Body of Lies isn’t horrible, there’s nothing in it that is compelling. It’s a pre-packaged war thriller that wants to shove it’s political message down your throat.
Leonardo DiCaprio and the completely overrated Russell Crowe team up in this political/war drama/thriller. Leo plays Ferris, a young CIA agent stationed in, well, several places. He gathers intel for his boss Hoffman (Crowe). Scott doesn’t try and hide the metaphor on the Iraq war. Hoffman is a chubby, narcissistic man, that says anyone that gives up on him, has given up on America. He eats cereal in his cushy backyard while ‘saving civilization’ on a cell phone. While scamming on soccer moms at his son’s game, he casually throws out commands that will leave many dead, trying to convince himself, as well as those around him, that ‘nobody is innocent.’ He refers to Jordan as a ‘towelhead kingdom,’ and believes he can do no wrong. He has no patience for Ferris who tries to be culturally sensitive, and at the same time is too polite, to a fault. Hmmm. Is he trying to say something about the people running the war? Ferris is in the middle of all the action, exploiting locals for information, and leaving them to die at the order of Hoffman. At some point during the disjointed plot, he enters into a completely unbelievable side story about falling in love with a local doctor, who is promptly kidnapped in order to blackmail Ferris. Slowly, but surely, he becomes disenchanted with the whole system and attempts to leave, which leads to the one plot development that spurred my interest. I can’t give it away, but it is quite the final ‘f you’ from Scott to the heartless bureaucrats running the ‘situation’ over there.
It’s not that the film wasn’t put together decently. Sure, it’s flashy, lots of explosions, and plenty of torture scenes. But Scott lets it go on for far too long, apparently he didn’t learn after the excruciating length of American Gangster. Crowe’s serious overacting completely deters from the plot (his affected southern accent makes you cringe every time he drops his vowels, and drawls). You’ll be lost and confused as Scott throws scores of characters at you, without really helping you understand who they are or what they’re doing there. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been said in the hundreds of films made about the war over the last few years. Watching this film was about as fun as it was when Scott forced us to watch Ferris get multiple rabies shots in his stomach. And if this performance gets Crowe another Oscar nod, I’m going to throw up out of frustration. Body of Lies is bloated, unoriginal, and boring.