“ Genre: Crime & Thriller / Theatrical Release: 2008 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Ridley Scott / Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong, Goldshifteh Faharani, Oscar Isaac ... / DVD released 2009-03-23 at Warner Home Video / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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"Body of Lies" is a 2008 American Spy Film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe and Mark Strong.
Roger Ferris ( Leonardo DiCaprio ) is a CIA case operative living and working in Iraq, his mission is currently to track a dangerous terrorist called Al-Saleem, he eventually meets Nizar who is a member of Al-Saleem's organisation but wants to offer information in return for asylum in the United States, Ferris boss Ed Hoffman ( Russell Crowe ) objects but Ferris agrees to shelter Nizar, however eventually Nizar is used as a pawn to draw out his colleagues and Ferris sees he is about to be captured, kills him to spare him the eventual torture and death he will endure.
Elsewhere a cell of terrorists in the UK are planning on blowing up Bus targets in Manchester after successful attacks in Sheffield, but during a raid on their house they blow themselves up, Ferris is assigned to Jordan to track down and capture Al-Saleem, meeting up with Jordanian intelligence chief Hani Salaam ( Mark Strong )
And So Ferris must work to gain the trust of Salaam, all the while keeping his CIA bosses happy and attempting to complete his mission, however when he begins a relationship with a Jordanian woman things get very complicated and Ferris finds himself in a position where he doesn't know who he can trust.
Body Of Lies has such potential to be a fantastic thriller in the Spy / Terrorism genre, the three lead men do admirable jobs with their parts and bring a high level of realism to each performance ( Especially Mark Strong who is utterly convincing as the Jordanian intelligence chief and you would never guess he's a brit )
Ridley Scott of course always delivers a high quality movie and this is no exception, superbly polished cinematography and a well written script elevate this above many other movies in the genre, however one thing I found is once you dig past the great performances and realistic settings, it is quite a formulaic spy thriller and you do get the impression that similar movies have been done before.
Overall Body of Lies is an enjoyable movie and if you're looking to step into the world of espionage for 128 minutes then you can do much worse than renting / buying Body of Lies.
This film was released in 2008 . This is one of those post 9/11 espionage films that Hollywood has made after the attack . This is easily one of the better made films with realistic acting by the entire cast...
The film has been criticised as being a well-intentioned, well-produced, yet generally unmemorable entertainment which is not fair in my opinion.It has its moments ..It is produced and directed by Ridley Scott known for his stylish visuals and an obsession for detail. His earlier films include Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Matchstick Men...
== The story ==
The film story is based on Washington Post columnist David Ignatius's 2007 novel by the same name .
Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) a CIA officer working in Iraq while tracking down a lead uncovers some evidence on a major terrorist leader Al Saleem suspected to be operating out of Jordan , planning more terror strikes. Ferris is working under and is being instructed by his superior Ed Hoffman ( Russel Crowe) from Langley. Ferris is being closely watched by Ed on the camera as he goes through his mission .
Ferris and Ed devise a plan to infiltrate the terrorist network with some help from Hani Salaam , head of Jordanian intelligence. Although ostensibly his allies, Ferris questions how far he can really trust these men, who are supposed to be helping him , without putting his entire operation , and his life - on the line...
== My views about the film ==
The story is intricate and interesting set in the turbulent Middle East . It is a taut thriller weaving a story of espionage, betrayal and violence . The story begins in Iraq, which is being closely watched by the CIA . The action takes you through terror links in Amman in Jordan, Turkey, Dara in Syria and Washington.
Leonardo De Capiro is excellent in his role as Roger Ferris being controlled by Ed from his home in Langley, and fighting his own battles being hunted by the terror groups. Russel Crowe has an understated role of that of a bureaucrat who is only interested in furthering his career art the expense of his subordinates . He has done a convincing job as the amoral and ambitious Officer pulling strings and manipulating . The best performance comes from Mark strong, who with his distinguished looks stands out in his role as the cunning , suave Hani Salaam the Jordanian who wields power and is constantly at loggerheads with Ferris.
It is scary to think of the intricate network that the Islamic terrorists have built . It spreads through the middle eastern countries , covering almost the entire region and other parts of Asia, and, spreading its tentacles to the Western countries as well. Human life has little or no value to the terrorists who kill and destroy not only the innocents but also their own people at the slightest provocation and suspicion.
This is of course the view point of the Western world and I am sure that the Islamic world has a different story to tell regarding terror and terrorism in their region. In my personal opinion, unless there is public support and sympathy for their cause , no organization is able to survive , succeed and grow. Most terrorist outfits get support from their own people who for reasons known to themselves support these organizations and fund them . We see it happening all round us. I get to read about it every day in local Newspapers here in India as to how the locals helped a terrorist carry out a terror attack. Of course we get to know these details after the deed is done and precious lives have been lost.
Coming to the film, it is an action packed film with non stop action from start to finish. I would say that it is a brutal film with some scary torture scenes , it almost looks real ! . The photography is stark and realistic like the mood of this very well made film. It is a violent film that has an intricate, plot that compels you to watch ...
I give it a 4 star and recommend it wholeheartedly as an excellent action packed thriller..
In Iraq is Roger Ferris, he is working for the CIA and trying to track down terrorists. He has a team back watching his back headed up by Ed Hoffman. Ferris is getting close to one of the top men but disaster strikes and his partner is killed. Hoffman orders Ferris put of Iraq and to Jordan where he must befriend Hana Salaam who is the head of the Jordanian General Intelligence Department.
Ferris gets in with Salaam and says he will keep him informed of all the terrorists he can track and they will be able to work together to bring the gangs down, that is however until Hoffman interferes and threatens to ruin the relationship between the men and all the hard work in tracking the terrorists.
Will Hoffman ruin all the good hard work Ferris has done and what will the consequence be for Ferris once Salaam finds out what has been going on? Ultimately can the terrorists be stopped?
I have kept the plot summery for this film as brief as possible as it is such an interesting film to watch with a good amount of detail to the storyline I don't want to spoil it for those who have not yet seen it.
The storyline was very good and the opening scenes were quite socking, it really did start with a bang with a house in Manchester being blow up and from this we get to Iraq and the terrorist gangs. I found that there was just enough information to keep me interested in all of the character but not too much to make it get confusing. We did get quite a few new characters during the film who were from the gangs but it was easy to keep up with who was who and what they stood for.
Leonardo DiCaprio took the lead role of Ferris and I though he really did a good job, he came across as a hard man but one who also had feelings and did get emotional about his job at times, I liked this side to this character as it showed that he was human. He looked good as a hard man and worked well with the weapons and action sequences. I did enjoy the chemistry between him and that of Hoffman who was played by Russell Crowe. I loved how there characters were so different as this made for some good banter and deliberate trying to get one over on the other. I think Hoffman came across as very hard faced and uncaring but as we did get to see the way he was with his family this did show he could be so different when needed.
There are a good few supporting actors in the film and they all gave good and different performances, we had the terrorists who were quite scared of what was going to happen to them down to the men who were being forced to take part in the bombings and then we met a few civilians who were caught up in the war on terrorism and I think that as they were so diverse it gave the storyline some depth and variety.
The film was based in Iraq and Jordan and I loved seeing the countries and how people lived over there. The contrast with the start of the film with Manchester being shown to then going to the desert and the shacks which people were being forced to live in and the complete overall dirtiness and way of life was interesting. We did get a lot of shots of the desert and hubby says it bough back memories for him when he served out in Iraq.
The special effects throughout the film were all very well made and looked excellent, there was no apparent added backdrops and a lot of time and effort must have been put into making them look as good as they did. We did have some action scenes which were also very good and gave the film some good fast paced scenes which both me and hubby enjoyed. The music was not very memorable but I do remember hearing some Indian themed music at the beginning of the film but the rest all went over my head.
The DVD which we have does have some bonus features which include:-
- Commentary by Director Ridley Scott, Screenwriter William Mionahan and Original Novel Author David Ignatius
- Actionable Intelligence: Deconstructing Body of Lies - Key sequences are explained in depth via on set footage and cast and crew interviews.
I am not a fan of bonus features and neither is hubby so we have not watched any of these so we are unable to comment on them.
The running time of the film is 123 minutes and I felt this was a great length as the storyline moved at a good pace throughout. The certificate is a 15 and I do agree with this as there are some very violent scenes, a few scenes of torture and bad language. We paid just £3 for this DVD from Amazon and I have also seen this is Tesco for the same price.
I do recommend this film as it has a great storyline, excellent acting and amazing effects throughout. It is definitely a film for all action fans.
OK before we get started lets look at the key players here.
Russell Crowe - Goooood, in political style films anyway.
Leonardo DiCaprio - Goooooooooooooooood, just full stop.
Ridley Scott - Good, sometimes, but lets give the benefit of the doubt and add a few o's so he doesn't feel left out.
Add to this a potentially brilliant plot/script, the vastly underrated Mark Strong and an equally capable supporting cast and this should be dynamite...something didn't quite go to pan.
I never like to do my reviews as a synopsis of a film/book/tv show etc but it's difficult to avoid it with Body of Lies. Basically DiCaprio is a CIA good guy in the Middle East, trying to keep everyone happy whilst serving the US of A. Crowe is CIA Fat Cat in Washington, not caring about anyone as long as he gets results. That's as much as I can say without really giving too much away other than there's a web of betrayal, backstabbing, red herrings, love and unfortunately confusion.
I am very familiar with the events of the Middle East so I could follow it ok but the for a non-follower of Middle East affairs (or non-nerds as you may prefer) this is probably quite confusing. This was not some low budget, straight to BBC Four intellectual film, it's a big budget/big cast blockbuster. The Middle East is still not a well documentend region of the world, not enough to merit a film without any real introduction to a complex system of events.
Despite that gripe the film is otherwise excellent I truly enjoyed it. Crowe returned to his Beautiful Mind/The Informer level of effortless/languid style of acting whist DiCaprio is destined to be a Hollywood great. In years to go by I'm confident he will be the actor remembered for this generation. The likes of Pitt, Cruise etc have tinkered with brave projects with varying successes. DiCaprio has shaken off the boy-next-door roles and thrown himself into some testing performances and grown with each one.
Scott can be a frustrating director at the best of times and he can't be blamed for the lack of an introduction and a somewhat loose plot at times and his directing skills are very good, capturing the mood very well especially in the main big scene near the end (I can't say too much without ruining it). Equally so he almost ignites the on-screen friction between DiCaprio's and Crowe's characters, to the point where you wonder if it's acting or not.
Roger Ferris is an undercover CIA agent who does his best to form allies wherever he is, and works for the good of not only America but the world. Ed Hoffman is his boss in America, someone who doesn't believe in long term benefits and just wants the quick victory. Ferris manages to forge a relationship with high up Jordanian head of Intelligence Hani Salaam, and also begins a flirtation with Jordanian nurse Aisha. But Hoffman's impatience puts Ferris in mortal danger and Ferris is unsure how he can escape this... who can he trust now?
We were on a visit to my mum and dad's when we watched this film, as its not normally the sort of thing that either me or my fiance would be interested in watching. I tend to steer clear of these war/political movies because I find them uncomfortable to watch, but my mum persuaded us to give it a go, and so we did. We certainly didn't expect to thoroughly enjoy it, and this is definitely thanks to the brilliant performance by Leonardo DiCaprio who makes this film what it is - fantastic.
I haven't seen DiCaprio in a film for so, so long - possibly not since Titanic actually! Back then, he was a babyfaced youngster who had young girls swooning over him the world over, and rightly so!! His role as a hard-faced CIA officer in this movie was as far removed from Jack Dawson as you could get, but it really seemed to suit him. DiCaprio has bulked up for this film, and clearly learnt Arabic to a good standard as he seemed very believable speaking it, and the role seemed to suit him. I was mesmerised watching him and found him acting as the torn undercover agent simply brilliant, he portrayed the emotions you would expect from someone in that job with such realism that I was almost feeling it along with him.
Russell Crowe stars opposite DiCaprio as the other big name in this film, but we don't see all that much of him over the 2 hour duration. His character is incredibly arrogant, the sort of person you can easily hate because he is in it for personal glory, never mind the men risking their lives on the ground day in, day out. Crowe adds some needed light relief to the film, and balances out DiCaprio's intensity well. The pair are rarely seen together but still they work well and I enjoyed the role Hoffman, although it did make me wonder how many real life Hoffman's there are in the CIA!
The other stand-out role for me was Mark Strong as Jordanian Hani Sallaam. He is intent on forming a trusting relationship with Ferris who is eager to reciprocate but can see trouble brewing with Hoffman's involvement. I didn't know what emotion or action to expect from Salaam one scene to the next, and I felt Strong delivers a fabulous performance here, a man not be crossed but to be trusted in the right circumstances. He was incredibly charismatic, and for an English actor he puts on an Arabic accent very well and definitely is a close second for best performance after DiCaprio.
I wasn't aware until after I had seen it that this film is actually based on a book of the same name (although originally titled Penetration) by David Ignatius. Clearly I haven't read it as it isn't my genre, but I would be interested to find out how it compares to the book. It is definitely a film that is relevant in the current climate of the world at the moment, and it definitely gives you a glimpse of how precarious life is for these men and women who infiltrate the countries in trouble and how just a few fanatics can reek havoc for millions. The plot is easy to follow, but you have to pay attention when you watch this and keep track of the names and faces to follow the twists and turns.
You can't watch a film like this and not expect some violence, and this film certainly has that. There are a lot of gun crimes in the movie, and please be aware there are some scenes of torture as well. I found these uncomfortable to watch in parts and had to turn away, but they weren't out of place or unexpected, I just prefer not to view these things if possible! Most of the violence was within my level of acceptable, nothing I haven't seen before but just be aware that some of it does get quite strong. The action sequences were incredibly fast paced and thrilling, and well directed by Ridley Scott. Speaking of direction, I think this movie is done very well, its not too confusing, moves at a good pace but doesn't delve too far into the issues that you begin to get bogged down with the politics.
Considering this was something that I didn't want to watch, I was totally captivated by this film and incredibly impressed by it. Both DiCaprio and Strong put in fantastic performances that keep you hooked for the 2 hours of this film, and the twists and turns along the way keep you guessing. The film was shot in Morocco (as opposed to the films setting of Jordan due to refusal by official bodies) but it was believable as Jordan and added a real authenticity to the film and I enjoyed this. The whole film was very watchable and enjoyable, although I can see it may have been unpopular with certain audiences due to its political standing, but I just enjoyed it for what it was! Recommended.
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: William Monahan (screenplay) / David Ignatius (novel_
Running Time: 128 minutes
Amazon price (Sept. 2009): £5.98
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Roger Ferris
Russell Crowe ... Ed Hoffman
Mark Strong ... Hani Salaam
Golshifteh Farahani ... Aisha
Ali Suliman ... Omar Sadiki
Kais Nashif ... Mustafa Karami
Thank you for reading.
I have to say I am rather impressed with Leonardo Di Caprio and do think he is now very good.
I haven't ever been a fan of Leonardo Di Caprio and would never have watched another film with him in again due to the rubbish film that was Titanic. I didn't realise Di Caprio starred in this film and as I sat there I was trying to think who the guy was and where I had seen him before.
What a great film though and I now think it has captured Leonardo Di Caprio and hopefully we will see him in some really great films.
I'll give you a general low-down on the plot. Basically this film follows an American 'adviser' to Jordan due to the Iraq war.
So I do like this film and would definitely recommend it especially when it does capture Leonardo Di Caprio in a really good light which is the complete opposite to Titanic. I like some of the action scenes and there is a really good story line attached to it.
Get it on Bluray? Yes I think so due to some really good high speed chase desert scenes, great crowds of people and a great environment it deserves HD.
Overall a great film and I would recommend it to anyone who never like Leonardo Di Caprio.
***Body of Lies***
Where I once would have avoided films with Leonardo Di Caprio after watching Titanic, in recent years I have come to look forward to films that he has worked on, after seeing him in The Departed and Blood Diamond. The fact that this film also starred Russell Crowe and was directly by Ridley Scott, told me that this would be one worth watching.
Director : Ridley Scott
Writer - William Monahan (screenplay) (Also wrote the screenplay for The Departed)
Writer - David Ignatius (novel)
At the heart of this film is the ongoing struggle with the fight against terrorism. Leonardo Di Capio plays an agent on the ground in the Middle East (Roger Ferris) intent on getting closer and closer to the main players in active terrorist cells. HIs boss back in Washington is played by Russell Crowe (Ed Hoffman) who directs Roger from his comfortable surroundings; quite relaxed to say that people are losing their lives in bomb blasts. In fact, even though his own people are at risk, this is not a man that will dwell on loss. He remains interested only in his final objective; to catch these terrorists at all costs. Of course he is focused in his job, but this is not a man who seems to display a great deal of compassion for the people directly affected by all the violence.
Also added to the mix is Hani Salaam who heads the intelligence in Jordan. As it appears that the main terrorists have links here, Roger tries to forge an alliance with Hani to share intelligence so that they can bring the terror cells and their leader down. However Hani is no fool and will only agree to work with Roger as long as he is not lied to or kept in the dark.
This type of film still finds it necessary to use a personal angle and that is a nurse Aisha who Roger tries to make friends with; a difficult feat in a country that is suspicious of westerners.
The film follows the pursuit of the terrorists, with Roger jetting from country to country, in an effort to set a trap for them. Of course it is not plain sailing and every time they get closer, the terrorist evade them. There is also the little question of trust, between all three of the actors already mentioned, which appears to be in short supply....
The film starts off in Manchester, and opens with a terrorist act which grips your attention from the beginning. The settings in the film are quite international, however I believe this film was only shot in the USA and Morocco. I find this amazing, as I only live down the road from Manchester and until I read this snippit, I believed that it was shot somewhere northern. There were scenes with explosions and these were believable and well executed, but they were not excessively used. This film wasn't all about the action, it was a film that relied upon the acting performances rather than just trying to wow the audience with stunts and special effects.
I really enjoyed this film, even though there are plenty of film of this genre. It was difficult to watch in parts, because the dialogue and the action moves so fast at times, definitely keep the rewind button to hand! The film moves from location to location and again you have to concentrate to keep pace, especially with all the different characters that are introduced. The plot was well written and of course hinged alot on the relationship between Roger and Ed. For two characters that had to work so closely, there were obviously issues of trust. This relationship was absolutely central to the film and overall, I think that the partnership worked really well. The locations were accurately depicted and I liked the fact that a positive side to living in the Middle East was addressed by the character that Roger plays.
The scenes of torture were not for the faint hearted and if this is not something you like to see in a film, then stay away, because it is quite brutal and shocking at times. These scenes were not glamourised and were well put together. It truly brought home just how horrific it is to be caught up in the terrorist world, either through choice or accident. I thought that the film did twist and turn and there is quite a good ending, I say quite good because if you are tuned in, there are enough heavy hints given to work out how the film will end. So I recommend that you don't try to work it out, because you will probably enjoy it more! I thought that the ending was handled well, not too soppy either.
Whilst these films often have an element of romance etc and yes in this case it became central to the plot, I have to say that I wished they could have found another way around this, because I don't believe that Roger would have have been stupid enough forge any friendships, as he would have been well aware of the dangers this posed. He did not come across as a person who gave no thought to those caught up on the violence, so why woudl he willingly put others in danger in the pursue of his work?
The film uses state of the act special effects and technical gadgetry only when it needs to. I have no idea if satellites are as effective or as precise as they are in this film, but if they are then it is a bit scary to know someone can be pinpointed and tracked in this way. It makes you wonder why it is so difficult to find fugitives, so I'm sure it can't be as good as this in real life. I also liked how Roger and Ed casually talked into a microphone as they went about their daily business. It seemed so smooth and effortless, this spy business.
~Leonardo Di Caprio~
I did enjoy Di Caprio's performance and I felt that he was believable in the role. He managed the action scenes really well and you got the sense that his character really cared about the wider issues, rather than just getting his target. His portrayal was very similar to the role he played in Blood Diamond though and I thought that the way he carried both roles was too similar. I would have liked a little more back story to how he came to be carrying out such a role, but this is a minor point. I think that he is perfect for films of this genre and think that he has emerged into an entirely different actor to the young man in Titanic.
This was another good portrayal because he was unrecognisable from the role he played as Maximus in Gladiator. He came across as an arrogant pen pusher, who was only interested in getting results at any cost. I particularly liked the interaction between himself and DiCaprio as they sparred with words. He was easy someone you could dislike, but I felt that the character was ultimately flawed. I found it difficult to believe that a man in his position could be so cavaliar and uncaring about men that worked for him. Of course the writer wanted you to feel that the men in suits had no comprehension of what it was like on the ground; detatched from the problem. Still, I found it a stretch to imagine someone could be so flippant and uncaring about the bloodshed going on around him. The pace of the film was quick and again we only had a glimpse of his personal life and I would have like to have known more about his character.
For me this was the dark horse. I found the portrayal of the head of security in Jordan quite chilling and even though he appeared sauve and well educated, you knew at once this was not a man to be messed with. I could certainly imagine that there are people who exist that do carry out their roles in this way. Whilst he wasn't a central character - he was certainly central to the plot. I will be seeking out other films that he has been in, as I was impressed with his performance.
This actress played the role of the nurse and she played the part in an understated way. She was credible as a woman living and working in the Middle East, although I think that she trused Roger far too quickly. I am pleased that this did not follow the Hollywood full on romance and thought that it was handled in a sensitve way. I am pleased that this role was not given to a mainstream actress and it was refreshing to see someone relatively unknown in such a big film.
Although the soundtrack wasn't a masterpiece, I thought that it heightened tension and suspense at the right times and was totally in keeping with the location and overall theme of the film. It certainly had a feel of the Middle East to it.
The film is rated 15 and last 123 minutes, both of which are about right. I enjoyed watching this film and if you are not squeemish about torture or violence then it is a film filled with suspense and one that you can get into very quickly. I watched this as a rental copy and there were no extras, to buy it is available for £5.98 from Amazon, which I don't think is a bad price. If I knew it was going to be so watchable then I would probably have bought it at this price. Although this isn't James Bond, The Bourne Ultimatum or 24, if you are a fan of spy/espionage movies then I don't think this one will disappoint.
The official website so you can watch the trailer etc can be found at:
This review will also be publishd on Ciao under the same username.
Body of Lies is based on the novel of the same name by David Ignatius, and last year, gained some Oscar hype as a tense political thriller, with a superb cast with leads being Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, and of course, direction from the sheer legend that is Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator). However, when the hype died down and people actually started seeing the film, it was sadly just an entertaining film without too much depth. That said, this is still a solid film - it just could have been a lot more.
Body of Lies is largely set in the middle-east during the war on terror, revolving around three men who are battling a terrorist organization, as well as their opposing buearocracies, as well as each other. The film opens with an elite anti-terror squad targeting a terrorist safe house, but the terrorists are watching, and detonate a bomb, killing both civilians and most of the members of the team. It is then revealed that the C.I.A. is trying to track down the leader of a terrorist organisation, with large help from an infiltrator named Roger Ferris (Di-Caprio) in the middle-east. Ferris corresponds with his handler, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), who is in strong opposition to Ferris - Ferris is achingly human and sensitive, whilst Hoffman better resembles an affectionless stuffed shirt G-Man. The parlance and unease between the two forms the crux of the film's narrative tension, and it's a doozy. I just wish that the film's payoff was a little stronger - it so very nearly makes an extremely pungent political statement about the strength of American integrity, but instead resorts to action film formula to resolve its plot threads. That said, it does feature the rather awesome Guns N Roses song during the credits, titled "If the World", from their new Chinese Democracy album.
Ridley Scott confidently directs a picture topped by two thoroughly entertaining performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. Body of Lies gets no points for originality, yet it is an even-handed, well-made and mostly enjoyable film.
It's a bit of a bleak start to the film which is focused in a run down area of Manchester where a terrorist group blow themselves up in their house when they realise they've been discovered and that sets up the storyline covering an ongoing controversial issue which is the War on Terror.
The film gives insights to the situations in Iraq and Jordan and I was entertained by a strong Russell Crowe looking a bit greyer and wider around the waist. He excelled in his performance as an obnoxious CIA boss leading a very active family life, getting on with his day-to-day routine and parental responsibilities in Washington whilst being in charge of a secret operation to uncover the whereabouts of a Terrorist leader. He's constantly in heavy mobile communication with his guy based in Iraq (Leonardo DiCaprio) who's doing all his dirty work and taking his orders. DiCaprio's character is strong and confident and he pulls off his disguise as a Muslin speaking Arabic which ends in a violent shoot out. He is fast and clever and it shocked me of what the CIA are capable of doing just to try and catch their bad guys. Whether this is fictionally enhanced or not, there's a great focus on the CIA's tracking systems which make you think their sophisticated technology will help them catch the enemy but the terrorists are one step ahead and clever enough to beat them. I think the plot is well thought out and whilst this is a very serious subject there is still a little bit of humour and romance involved.
Contrary to what others have said about this film, as a suburban married mother of 2 with a part time job and a nice house in a nice village - this film ticked all the boxes for me. I believe it was unbiased and showed both sides of the story and I was impressed with both performances from DiCaprio and Crowe. I was overwhelmed by the story. When I watch films like this it opens my eyes to what really goes on out there in the big bad world and makes me feel that I live in a very comfortable safe little bubble.
Body Of Lies (2008)
Okay, lets start with the fact that the director is Ridley Scott, do I need to remind you; Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, of course, Blade Runner.
Then we have Hollywood heavyweights, Leonardo DiCaprio (plays Ferris) and Russell Crowe (plays Hoffman)....we also have Dimitar Berbatov look-alike (really) Mark Strong, playing Hani Salaam.
We also have a fair few relatively unknown (outside of the Middle East) actors who play outstanding parts.
Given what I have just said, you almost know before the film starts that it is going to be at the very least okay, potentially very good.
Now I am no fan of DiCaprio and when he comes on screen wearing what appears to be a false beard, only it has to be his own as it is so poor, I thought 'oh, oh, wrong film choice'. However, we soon forget the beard and when he dresses in Arab robes, he is actually quite convincing....sorry, off on a tangent.
Okay, Ferris (DiCaprio) is an undercover guy in the Middle East working for the CIA, we see him in Iraq, Jordan, Syria and other places; basically his job is to report back to Hoffman (Crowe) with intelligence related to a major terrorist leader and network that are indiscriminately bombing all over Europe.
The film in fact starts with a bomb going off in Manchester, killing security forces as they enter the building.
Hoffman, who is Ferris's boss has no scruples what so ever and puts Ferris in repeated danger by reneging on promises that Ferris makes 'on the ground'....it appears that Ferris is becoming more Arabic in his ways and less 'gun ho', Hoffman is very gun ho.
The plot then moves to Jordan where Ferris is tasked with working with Hani Salaam, head of Jordanian security....Salaam has one demand "Do not lie to me". Ferris believes that cultivating the relationship and not lying will bear dividends in the long run, Hoffman lies and double crosses, seemingly at will.
Their aim is to capture the head of the terrorist network and they try several method and plans to do this......that is all I am telling you about the plot. I will say however, that it has twists a plenty, conspiracies and sub plots that give us a few real moments of tension.
~~The Acting, The Directing~~
I want to say DiCaprio was rubbish, but he wasn't; in a Matt Damon sort of way, he was actually very good and played his part well, we also see him in scrapes with his hair messed up. A particular bug bear of mine is well combed hair in action scenes.
Crowe is not so good...he plays the overweight, unscrupulous character too well; he bumbles, he looks all at sea and he is out acted by everyone...unless I am not getting something and it is method acting at its best!!
Strong plays his character very well and it could have easily been a Borat like affair, but it isn't. He plays a menacing side well, with a real sense of honour and compassion, I just wished he did not look so much like Berbatov (traitor).
In fact, apart from Crowe, the level of acting was very good from all; okay, there was some hammy bits but that's okay, it was overall well done.
The directing is as you would expect from Scott; tight, tension laden and making full use of CGI. One particular thing that I found effective was when an explosion happened we saw the shock waves go through the air, very impressive.
The other thing about the directing that impressed me was mixing the matter of fact (market scenes for instance) with the extraordinary, such as the constant cut scenes to control rooms, that had spy drones zooming in on events.
Overall, well paced, great scenery, great CGI.
~~~My overall opinion~~~
I really liked the film....there is a scene near the end that made me cringe, no bad thing, and the two hours flew by.
It was tense enough, DiCaprio surprised me and it was a good, edge of seat action thriller.
I particularly liked the location shots, along with the fact that we had many subtitled bits of conversation in Arabic. All this lent itself to a sense of realism that pushed the film along.
Okay, we know that Scott and Hollywood in general have poetic licence and no way would some of the things that happened in the film really happen, but come on, it was an action romp, and a good one at that!
On Virgin Media Film Flex for £3.95
To the Middle East oil is its biggest gift, but also its curse, the West having to be there meddling to not only protect supply but to keep the price low to sustain our greedy affluent lifestyles, whatever that takes.
Anyone who believes we invaded Iraq to bring democracy is a cretin, as are the same people who believe Hollywood is any more accurate than the intelligence services on telling us what's going on out there. Where as big budget popcorn films like this on the subject are treated as fun by European audiences, to Americans a big chunk of them take this stuff as a decent representation of what really is going on and how they are more in the right over it, helping to perpetuate the nonsense that is the 'War on Terror'. We have declared war on Islam, not the other way around guys!
Recent Home Office figures revealed that of the 1459 people arrested since '911' on 'terror related' offences in the U.K, just 13% were convicted on those offences, of which most were tenuously related to terror, petty crime to possible fund it etc. Yes there are a few sociopath Muslim nutters out there willing to blow stuff up on behalf of their God but its glossy films like this that help to grossly inflate the threat from the Middle East, increasing our paranoia. It's not deliberate but its all part of the state of fear America has whipped up against Islam to justify their oil grab in Iraq and planned future incursions. The Iranians are not rattling their sabres at the Americans in bravado but their hands are shaking in fear of what's to come.
Where as the Clooney film 'Syriana' tackled the real issues and why we do what we do in the Middle East, Body of Lies side steps all that and sticks to Muslims are all terrorists and America is in the right and we know that because Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe say so. At least 'Body of Lies' is more Syriana than the dire Jamie Foxx movie 'The Kingdom', though, everything that's wrong with Hollywood when it tackles sensitive regions of the world. Talk about putting back Saudi -U.S. relations for 100 years!
With Ridley Scott directing this is well paced and brash as you would expect and holds back enough on the bombastic judgement of Islam in that part of the world to not offend. Where as pretty much no one understood the plot to Syriana (deliberately obfuscated to make you feel more intelligent than you are for just renting it, its selling point at Cannes no doubt), 'Body of Lies' lays out the twists and turns for you soon after if you missed them first time around, usually via the Arab bad guys subtitles as they tell you what's just happened, saving DiCaprio and Crowe the cringing embarrassment of having to mouth out the plot to camera in the way these films sometimes do for less erudite American audiences so to catch up (see National Treasure 2). This is most definitely an action movie over a political statement from the director.
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Roger Ferris
Russell Crowe ... Ed Hoffman
Mark Strong ... Hani Salaam
Golshifteh Farahani ... Aisha
Oscar Isaac ... Bassam
Ali Suliman ... Omar Sadiki
Alon Abutbul ... Al-Saleem
Vince Colosimo ... Skip
Simon McBurney ... Garland
Mehdi Nebbou ... Nizar
CIA agent Roger Ferris (DiCaprio) is a big player on the Middle East desk, preferring to be down and dirty on the coal face of the 'War on Terror' to being stuck in an office, his cunning baseball cap and shades disguise enough to bamboozle Al-Quieda out in the deserts and dusty markets. His superior, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), is more laid back and likes to run things from his cell phone and lap top in Washington DC, even when picking the kids up from prep school. But things are hotting up in Europe, an Islamic terror cell in Sheffield blowing up their bomb factory to stop the police gathering vital evidence, a second bomb going off in Amsterdam, killing 100 plus. It's believed to be the work of 'Omar Sadiki' (Ali Suliman) and the start of a huge bombing campaign across the world.
Ferris is soon on the ground in Iraq, a possible member of Sadikis cell willing to talk in return for asylum, but Hoffman not giving the ok to bring him in for some reason. It soon becomes clear to Ferris that Hoffman is running a counter operation, one that puts Ferris people and contacts in danger, the norm for this business.
The intrigue moves onto Jordan, the apparent epicentre of terror cells and intelligence gathering in the Middle East, where we meet Amman's head of intelligence, Hani Salaam (Mark Strong), who Ferris quickly meets to get the heads up. But Hoffman doesn't trust Salaam and when Ferris is compromised when he falls for a local girl, Aisha (Golshifteh Farahani), Hoffman jumps on the next Learjet to sort things, the plan being to create a dummy terror cell to draw out 'chatter' from Sadikis sleepers so to stem the coming terror campaign. But who do you trust in the land of smoke and mirrors? Certainly not the intelligence services.
Although this is cliché in that Hollywood way that portrays the Middle East and espionage as black Mercedes racing across the deserts full of swarthy men in stubble and cheap suits to get to bustling market places before they are blown up by terrorists, it's not too stupid and will entertain people who want to turn off their brain. If you take your politics seriously then this will bore you and it's no Syriana that's for sure, that one a far more cynical and intelligent version of Body of Lies. But it's no boom boom for the sake of it action flick either, all the explosions having reason, a decent story to entertain, plenty of gadgets and intelligence services special effects and all seeing eyes to give things another dimension, like the way Will Smiths 'Enemy of the State' worked so well on. Yes the two big stars scene steal from each other throughout and so dilute any realism but it has just enough action and authenticity to be in that Tom Clancy-Harrison Ford popcorn style action movie that does appeal to the masses. It's not dumb but it's not that clever. In truth its designed to pass you by and be somewhat forgettable, not the sort of film you would ever watch again, although Ridley Scott's direction at least makes it look neat and pacey, 128 minutes perhaps 20 too many though. It's the type of movie that will appeal to people who have no real thoughts or foresight on the Middle-East situation, perhaps cruel to say it but your bog standard multiplex lemming flick.
I'm not a huge fan of DiCaprio as an actor and I think he has the most dire screen presence of the current A-List names around, his 6ft 4" frame rather awkward on screen. Russell Crowe, on the hand, is a real ham, here playing his older overweight role we have seen a lot of late, although not told by Scott to put on 30Lbs for the movie with his Body bag of Pies performance.
I suppose this is just neat enough to sustain our interest, the latest of a long line of films to try and put the case on Iraq and the Middle East to cash in on mainstream US audiences anxieties, the method of sticking two huge stars in it somehow add credibility to proceedings perhaps not wise.
The most bizarre piece of the movie is when Aisha's nephews are watching TV in dusty Oman in their pokey flat, the 'War on Terror' raging outside the window, but the kids enthralled by the 2003 Nationwide League Division Three relegation encounter between Yeovil Town and Torquay United! I presume that's Ridley's team?
= = = = = Special Features = = = =
Ridley and his writer and producer and his writer talk about their film. Scott is very interesting to listen to on film making and also can be quite dry with his sense of humour so maybe worth a listen if you do commentaries.
-Actionable Intelligence: Deconstructing Body of Evidence-
A three segment piece of behind the scene stuff.
Scott returns to Rabat for his third film shot there, he says because the local crews are experienced and know his way of work, I say because of cheap labour.
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Imdb.com scores it 7.2 out of 10.0 (32,456 votes)
RuN-TiMe 128 minutes
Any 2 films for 2 nights for £5 deal at Blockbusters.
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Body of Lies is a 2008 film, directed by Ridley Scott and staring Leonardo DeCaprio and Russel Crowe. It is a spy movie and centres around a CIA agent who goes on the hunt of a high ranking terrorist. It's definitely a good but not one that I would say you can really enjoy, I think rather, it teaches you about the atrocities of war and brings them to the forefront of modern civilisation and tries to show you the real face of war.
DiCaprio is the CIA agent who travels to Jordan and other places in the middle East. He is undercover and is always flying from one country to another to stay one step ahead of developments. I think Leo was very good in this movie. I would like his performance to that in Blood Diamond which I also though was very good. In a way, he plays a similar character, a person who is very good at adapting to his place in a new country, getting the locals onboard and making friends and contacts who can help him in his mission. It's quite a violent film and Leo does get a fair few beating in it, definitely not a movie for kids as some of his injuries are very graphic and quite disturbing, including scenes of torture which in places are just horrible. The make up section on this movie must have been very good though becasue the injuries look very realistic and definitely add to the story in the film. His character is called Roger Ferris.
Russell Crowe is almost unrecogniseable as another CIA agent, Ed Hoffman. He plays, in my opinion the bumbling agent who really does not know about politics and how best to act in the type of situations that he and Ferris find themselves in. He actually often puts Ferris into dangerous situations unnecessarily and that often butt heads throughout this movie because of this. Hoffman has the luxury of being a USA based agent and so does not really understand the dangers of the other countries.
I definitely think Scott has captured the tense situations and scariness of the countries. Even just driving around in a vehicle can be dangerous as suicide bombers are all around and I think this made the film quite suspenseful and tense and kept me on the edge of my seat, that is for certain!
This film definitely shows how relationships are key in the war against terrorism and that one wrong move can destroy everything. It's almost like a bit of a cat and mouse game film, seeing what the other persons move is going to be and then counteracting.
The film is actually adapted from a novel called Penetration by the author David Ignatius. It did reasonably well at the box office, grossing over $113 million worldwide. The DVD is rated fit for viewing by persons 15 years or more and runs for approximately 123 minutes. There are not many special features, just a commentary by Ridley Scott and key sequences which are explored in depth by cast and crew.
Body of Lies is an enjoyable action thriller that has some limitations but is still an enjoybale viewing experience with two top Hollywood stars plying their trade to good effect.
Leonardo Di Caprio stars as a CIA Operative called Roger Ferris who is based in the Middle East fighting terrorist cells and trying to get information on their activities. His Washington boss is Ed Hoffman who controls the flow of information to Ferris and sometimes is prone to lie to him in order to ensure missions are successful or at least minimise the risk to the US government. Hoffman is played by a rather pudy looking Crowe.
This is one of those psychological thrillers where he pressure builds over time until it all kicks off and this film is competent at doing just that.
The quality of the acting s good although occasionally I did not buy into the way Di Caprio character behaved, sometimes I think he over does the old method acting a bit too much.
There are some good plot twists in the film and the action is fast paced, the plot does get a bit weak in places and this limits your enjoyment of the film but on the whole this is a very good action thriller and well worth a watch.
When most people think of Ridley Scott, Leonardo DiCaprio or Russell Crowe, they usually think of quality. Some, I am sure, will even get a tingle down their spine as they remember the collaboration between Scott and Crowe that was Gladiator. Surely, adding DiCaprio into the mix could only improve things and make this collection of household names produce a fantastic film. This would surely be the result. Wouldn't it?
Well, if you believe everything you read, then the underlying feeling about this film is disappointment. Many have felt that the two stars were 'coasting' through the film, with Crowe's performance verging on lazy and Leo overacting as much as usual. Ridley Scott brought the usual fireworks with him to make the film visual, but people thought he had rushed the whole thing, even though it runs it at two hours long.
Me? Well, part of me is inclined to disagree. The plot calls for some of the methods of the trio to be altered somewhat. DiCaprio plays Roger Ferris, a CIA operative who works ground operations in the Middle East in the war against terror, relaying info and receiving his orders from superior Ed Hoffman, stationed in Washington DC. The plot is all about trust, or rather the complete lack of it. When Ferris goes to the Jordanian Head of Security Hani Salaam (Mark Strong), he is given one condition to cooperation: no lies! And with Hoffman feeding him lie after lie, and asking him to cover up things left, right and centre whilst maintaining trust networks, it can surely only be a matter of time before something gives.
The interesting game of psychological tennis going between the three main players slightly masks the real purpose of what they're all collaborating on: finding the leader of a large terrorist group Al-Saleem, and this is essentially where the plot tries to head. However, Scott manages to override the plot with the characters, and perhaps this is what clouds the issue somewhat. The acting is quite good. DiCaprio does overact at times, and too much emphasis is placed on the fact that his character speaks Arabic, but he plays the role quite well, I thought. My opinion of the actor has always been rather low, but recently I have been more impressed, and this includes this film. Crowe put on a lot of weight for the film, and ambles around doing family things whilst relaying instructions to Ferris over the phone. Perhaps the acting on his part is good: I was certainly convinced by his role, and although he never raises his voice above a monotone and is quite bland and boring at times, I think this is just the character and not a sleight on his acting.
Mark Strong is very good as Hani, convincing and commanding, and he makes the character command the room. Normally more associated with TV shows and the recent Guy Richie film Rocknrolla, Strong more than holds his own here against a couple of Hollywood's big guns. The remainder of the cast do well, with Golshifteh Farahani providing a bit of love interest for Ferris as Aisha.
Ridley Scott's direction is rather glossed here. Nothing is examined too deeply, and I found myself following the plot quite easily. Many have criticised the film for being overly complicated and for being confusing, but I disagree. Okay, so it's not the greatest film and I probably would have expected more, but I still really enjoyed it, from the tense start with a terrorist attack, to the frenetic end where you finally realise what has been going on. Yes, there are a couple of twists to the tale, but as this is a film about lies and trust, then it's not too tricky to figure things out as long as you keep an open mind. Similarly, it's not too convoluted that you can't relax. I found it easy to just relax and watch the film, letting the visuals do a lot of the work, and having a lot of the film explained, just so long as I made sure I kept concentrating. This is not the sort of film you can have in the background and still understand. It's not the most complex, but you do need to pay attention. I did, and I enjoyed it.
The DVD is a relatively new release, and thus will still sting you for around £12 even for a DVD with no extras. If you're interested in this, it may be worth waiting for the prices to drop in a couple of months.
'Body Of Lies' is a film adaptation of the David Ignatius book of the same name. The film was adapted byWilliam Monahan, produced and directed by Ridley Scott and directed by Donald De Line. It was released in 2008 by Warner Brothers.
The film begins as a terrorist cell operating in Manchester blows themselves (and a number of police officers) up after it comes to light they their plan to carry out a proper terrorist attack has been discovered and the police are about to arrest them.
Roger Ferris (Leonardo Di Caprio) is a CIA agent who is currently working in Iraq in an effort to track down and capture notorious terrorist Al-Saleem. Roger's boss, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) is based in the United States but communictaes with Roger via mobile phone. Ed also keeps an eye on him via a small unmanned aircraft.
After his partner is killed, Ferris is sent to Jordan where he meets Hani Salaam (Mark Strong) who is head of Jordanian intelligence. They forge an uneasy alliance based on the premise that Ferris will never lie to Salaam. Various events take place which lead Salaam to believe that Ferris had lied to him and he orders Ferris to leave Jordan within 12 hours.
I'm trying to be deliverately vague here as the storyline is fairly difficult to explain without giving away some of the major plot ideas and 'twists'. Watching the film, it is easy to follow and understand but to actually explain it is more difficult than I expected. The basic idea of the film is that everyone is out to get what they want and will stop at nothing to achieve it. There are double, triple and even quadruple crosses running throughout the film. The interactions between some of the characters are interesting to watch, but I felt that they could have developed the relationships between them in a better way, and in more detail. There are parts of the film in which Ferris is torn between Ed and Hani, especially when they are both running operations behind Ferris' back. Ed and Hani hate each other with a passion and this seems to be shown pretty well by the actors.
Mark Strong is an English actor who is probably most well known for his appearances in numerous TV dramas but he really makes his mark (no pun intended) in this film. He plays a wealthy and respected middle-eastern gentleman very well. He performs his part with the mannerisms and accents very well, only straying slightly into caricature-esque territory on occasion. I was slightly put off by his characters likeness to Man United striker Dimitar Berbatov, but I'm pretty sure that was not deliberate.
Leonardo Di Caprio and Russell Crowe were as good as you would expect but neither seemed to be pushed or stretched by their roles. The two characters communicated via mobile phone throughout the movie and only shared the screen for very short periods of time. I was a tad disappointed by that; I would have liked to see the two interact more. I did like the way that Crowe's character went about his normal daily routine whilst instructing Ferris on his mission and even ordering people to be killed. His hands-free kit allowed him to drop his kids off at school whilst commanding his CIA agent who is thousands of miles away. This film did start to feel a bit like a mobile phone advert at times, which is ironic considering the fact that right at the start of the film, Ed informs his superiors that they are losing the war because their enemies have stopped using technology and so are almost impossible to trace. It might have been that this scene, coupled with the main characters use of phones was meant to indicate the writers feelings about why the US is failing so miserable in the Middle East but I just think that this film is not clever enough for that to be the case.
Overall, I wouldn't really recommend this film to anyone, but if it's on and you have nothing better to do, you could do a lot worse than watch it.