Monday, October 13, 2008

Movie Review: Body of Lies

Body of Lies PosterMovie Title: Body of Lies
Starring: Leonadro DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong
Genre: Action/Thriller/Drama
Directed by: Ridley Scott
My Rating: 8/10

How do Hollywood movies save money while making movies set in the Middle East? By doing extensive research on the culture, language and locations, and eventually shooting it all in Morocco. Jordan, Iraq, Syria, UAE and Turkey were all shot in Morocco, on the other end of the Middle East. And it almost looked convincing! More convincing for an average moviegoer whose world history and geography probably suck and anything that doesn't look like civilization is some foreign land for sure.

All that being said, I must admit that "Body of Lies" was a good movie. However, a lot of its contents and subplots are tried and tested formulas in show business. At a time of war, one which has been dragging almost throughout this decade, and in election year, this movie may not find the success it deserves at the box office and at the hands of the professional critics.

Leo DiCaprio plays Roger Farris, a CIA operative tracking down terrorists in the Arab world, and Russell Crowe is his boss, a technocrat and family man whose job is mostly to talk to his field operatives on the cellphone all day long using a hands-free earpiece in the age of Bluetooth technology, and thinks he has the feel of what's really going on on the field just like an armchair quarterback.

To catch one bad guy, you "create" another just to distract the media and the people all over the world, and use that distraction to avail more resources to catch the actual bad guy.

I am really not sure what they're trying to get at with such a plot. A deja-vu, a cliche, a "heard-of-it-so-what" concept, which some or many people would comprehend and concur with, but the others likely to call it a one-sided agenda.

Even though I wasn't much of a fan of DiCaprio back in the Romeo+Juliet/Titanic days and Crowe is one of my favorite actors, I would have to admit the former overshadowed the Aussie in this movie. Crowe did what he had to do, make his character less and less likable, be a corporate douche and call the shots like he's all "been there, done that" - but DiCaprio seemed to have put in much more effort into his role. It just wasn't too different from being a mix of his roles in Departed and Blood Diamond. I must praise him for his spoken Arabic in the movie. I don't speak that language, but would imagine it to be really difficult to learn a new language which is nothing similar to the ones you already speak. It would be easier to learn Spanish or French if your first language is English, but to jump to an Asian or African language from a Latin-base would definitely be as tough as an Economics graduate trying to learn C++ or CAD.

Hey, I enjoyed the movie. I appreciated how actually unbiased it was. However, I also understand why most people wouldn't give a flying hoot about a movie at it's time of release. Election year, war-time, come on. It could be a DVD hit. 8/10.

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