johnlink ranks BODY OF LIES (2008)

I’ve really gotten my money’s worth out of HBOHD this summer. I’ve caught up on several releases from the past couple years that I missed in theaters. Last night, I finally saw Ridley Scott’s war-in-the-middle-east flick BODY OF LIES.

I watched BODY OF LIES (2008) on 8.23.10. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

First and foremost, this is an acting showcase. We have Leo DiCaprio playing a fallible southern special ops agent who transforms himself  to get what he wants when he wants it. We have Russell Crowe, playing second fiddle character-wise, doing what he does best: Falling physically into a character that is nothing like the actor. Just as importantly, we have Mark Strong (the villain from the recent SHERLOCK HOLMES) playing the Jordanian intelligence chief in a role which usually gets marginalized or one-sided in a lesser movie. And, perhaps most importantly, is a great performance by Golshifteh Farahani, an Iranian actress playing Leo’s love interest. In many films of this sort, the ‘ethnic beauty’ is plot-driving eye candy. Part of the success of the film has to do with the chemistry DiCaprio and Farahani build in a short amount of time.

This is one of those films which probably didn’t do to well because it has too many middle eastern characters which American audiences can’t tell apart. I know that sounds cruel, but I find that any time a large-cast film takes place in the middle east it gets knocked for being ‘too confusing’. Sure this is one you need to stay alert for. Scott doesn’t hold your hand (except for one quick, slightly out of place torture scene which contained (what felt like) a test-audience driven flashback).

DiCaprio bounces from Iraq to Jordan to the states to Syria to Dubai and on and on. This is a global film in the sense that we don’t get bogged down in one place. The plot keeps firing, and it never lets up.

I, personally, love the ending. It takes the theme of the film and uses it against our major characters. I think it’s brilliant. In the end, everyone gets what they want, though they all sacrifice majorly to get it. That sense of doing ‘whatever it takes’ comes home to roost.

Very good film. Glad I caught it. Absolutely recommend it.


FILM: 7; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 8; WRITING: 7 (What is this?)



~ by johnlink00 on August 24, 2010.

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