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Body of Lies --- Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio fight terrorism
Oct 10, 2008 (Updated Oct 10, 2008)
Review by three_ster
Rated a Very Helpful Review
DiCaprio is at the top of his game, some good sub-plots, lots of action
Cons:Crowe was really mis-cast, some very familiar plot-lines, violence
The Bottom Line: I enjoyed watching Body of Lies, and it was entertaining, but there were times when I felt it could have been better, and Crowe was certainly not up to par.
Body of Liesis the latest action film to come from director Ridley Scott's stable of work. Having been the reason film-goers had to suffer through Kingdom of Heaven, his failed Orlando Bloom vehicle, he really had to do a lot to impress upon the audience something worth watching. The premise is a somewhat familiar one with this film, based on a novel written by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius in 2007. The film is about a terrorist group working out of Jordan, and in particular, the man leading this group that wants to make the Western world pay for what has been going on inside of the Middle East. While that serves as a major sub-plot, we follow the main character, a CIA operative named Roger Farris, as he tries to piece together where the man has been operating, and concocts ideas on how to put an end to it.
Recommend this product?
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Farris, and the character is given the "chops" necessary to partake in this mission during opening sequences where he shows his grit and determination to get the job done. He also shows a certain sympathy and heart that is also needed to bring a morality to the film that audiences will be able to hang their hats on a little later on. Violence and death seem to follow him around the many Middle East countries where he follows leads, and he ends up looking like Bruce Willis out of a die-hard movie as he stays on the trail. He is not working alone though, as back in the states, typically contacting him through a cell phone and watching through a satellite link, we have a higher up guy in the CIA by the name of Ed Hoffman. Hoffman has lost his respect in the region, and most of the time is that "man in the shadows" trying to help out Farris, but at times quite obviously showing that he has ulterior motives.
Russell Crowe was cast as Hoffman, and it must have been because of Scott's affinity towards the actor, because it didn't seem at all like a part he should have been cast in. The seemingly much older, and much more experienced character came off quite flat with Crowe playing him, and there were so few scenes where the character was given dramatic acting lines that you could almost say that Crowe was wasted on the part. It seemed like a mis-cast from the very beginning, and quite shocking to see Crowe with white hair through the whole movie. Opposit him, DiCaprio was a diamond, elevating his acting game to yet another level, and showing that he indeed has developed quite a range of talent and emotional abilities over the years. DiCaprio is what kept the film really interesting, and he pulls off yet another good accent with this story, though some viewer might once again get bogged down by him not using his normal voice.
Body of Liesat times was a gripping story, with a unique twist on approaching the "terrorist attacks America and we must fight back" genre, but at times it still succumbs to a lot of the expected pit-falls of films like this. Still, there were other times when the film was extremely exciting, and it was nail-biting trying to figure out exactly what was going to happen next. On the whole I found the film to be pretty interesting, and with DiCaprio in the mix it was very entertaining. Crowe shouldn't have been in the film though, and he seemed to really slow it down, whether it was intentional or not, when he was on screen, and it ruined a lot of the pacing with the movie. My recommendation of the film comes with warnings that there are many violent moments, one of which made me really cringe in my seat, and the additional point that Crowe could take you out of the story. This film isn't ground-breaking by any means, but it was worth the viewing to see DiCaprio at the top of his game.
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