Body of Lies is not a recent release. That doesn’t make it any less interesting. By now, anyone would have seen the trailer / movie and would know that the movie is about a CIA agent in the Middle-East and his boss in the US. The agent being De Caprio and the boss being Russell Crowe. The plot – (without revealing too many details) is about the agent who tries to, as his boss puts it, keep saving civilisation by ensuring terror cells don’t succeed in their plans.
So, what separates this movie from Syriana or Kingdom ? For starters, the signature Ridley Scott action. He does a good job of ensuring that you are at the edge of your seat. Another thing that separates is the brilliant acting by De Caprio. It feels like he is playing another shade of Billy Costigan. Between Russell Crowe and De Caprio, I think De Caprio comes out to be the better performer. As an angry man who doesn’t approve of his boss’ actions, works hard to gain the trust of the head of intelligence of Jordan, as a man who is willing to barter himself for his romantic interest – he portrays controlled anger and an increasing helplessness rather well. As for Russell Crowe’s performance as Ed Hoffman – the podgy desk boss for De Caprio, he does well too, if not as powerful a role. He is calculative and shrewd and gets that across rather well. Another commendable performance is by Mark Strong as Hani Salam, the intelligence director of the Jordanian intelligence. His character is dark and shrouded in a mystery for most part of the movie. I personally liked the performance of De Caprio and Mark Strong and rate them over Crowe’s performance.
Another (rather pleasing) appearance is by Golshifteh Farahani, who plays an Iranian-Jordanian nurse in Amman. De Caprio develops an interest the moment he sees her (can’t blame him for that :D). She plays the role of somebody who is progressive in thought yet respects her traditions very well. Especially in the scene wherein De Caprio wants to shake her hand to thank her for the dinner, she wants to, but knows she can’t do it, so refrains from doing it. Her acting in that scene was truly rapturous. Kudos both to the director and the actress for doing that scene so well.
So, should you watch this movie ? Except for the clichéd ending, the movie is a thriller.William Monahan’s screenplay is immaculate (despite the goofs that you see on IMDB). Scott’s direction has his signature fast-paced thriller to it. Of course there are the usual far fetched spy cams and instant international calls and a few other things which can be thought of as artistic requirements. Like a critic rated on rotten tomatoes, this movie feels a lot like Syriana. But its presentation of the central idea is different. And there is the lady love which makes all the difference, and well, I’d say that is not a bad thing at all ;). I wished the ending of the movie was a little different, nevertheless, will rate it an 8 out of 10. Kick-ass action, great screenplay and crisp direction, make it a good 2 hours spent on the movie.