Movie Details


Based on Washington Post columnist David Ignatius` 2007 novel about a CIA operative, Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio), who uncovers a lead on a major terrorist leader suspected to be operating out of Jordan. When Ferris devises a plan to infiltrate his network, he must first win the backing of cunning CIA veteran Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) and the collegial, but perhaps suspect, head of Jordanian intelligence. Although ostensibly his allies, Ferris questions how far he can really trust these men without putting his entire operation - and his life - on the line.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: NC16
Release Date: 20 Nov 2008
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 2 Hours 10 Minutes
Distributor: WARNER BROS
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong, Golshifteh Farahani
Director: Ridley Scott
Format: NA


Writer: Syahida Kamarudin

Writer Ratings:

Watch this if you liked: "Syriana", "The Kingdom", "Rendition"

Can I just write a short review saying that it's Ridley Scott meets Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio, and that just says it all?

I think Scott knows what he wants and he knows how to do it well. Think of it this way. Each character stands for the different set of players in the millennium war against terrorism. It's not about the terrorists, nor is it much about Al-Saleem, the Al-Zarqawi-like syeikh who is supposed to be the real target between the Jordanian intels and the CIAs in this movie. It seems so, if you look at the whole point of the operation. Instead, "Body of Lies" is trying to make one see the real ugliness - the counter-terrorism operation and the people behind it.

Russell Crowe returns to the big screen, even uglier than he was in "American Gangster". As pot-bellied Southern CIA veteran Ed Hoffman, Crowe manages to portray Ed as what the character really represents - a classic neo-conservative American who believes in a great deal of U.S. Foreign Policy - that everything should go the American way or the highway, with no respect for others and constant apathy for any casualty.

Leonardo DiCaprio seems to get the better role, with a harder task. As Roger Ferris, the Arabic-speaking CIA land operative, he most likely represents Britain's take on terrorism. Unlike their partner, they always inject a better approach towards Middle East - learning the culture and speak the language, instead of bulldozing an intervention. Ferris is such that he believes in giving asylum, less casualties, and a trickier approach. DiCaprio plays the character to a T, and keeping close to the slightest details from a perfect Iraq Arabic accent, to Ferris' habit of wetting his dry lips due to the dry exposure to the Middle Eastern sun. There's nothing new about the Mark Strong character as Jordanian Intelligence head Hani Salam though. We've seen him playing a similar role in "Syriana" before.

However, apart from the amazing cast and great effects, nothing much can be said about the plot. A storyline about whom to trust and the cat-and-mouse chase has been an old theme, being recycled again and again. If the movie wasn't directed by Scott and doesn't have A-list actors playing their role amazingly, this movie could just be another one of Hollywood's annoying obsessions with terrorism.

On a lighter note, check out Ferris' technique on hitting on the Iranian nurse, Aisha. I mean, using 'Assalamualaikum' in a cheeky way may be new in Hollywood, but being a Malay Muslim girl, I can tell you this - that is so unoriginal. Ha.

Cinema Online, 28 November 2008
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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