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Body of Lies (Dir. Scott, Crowe, DiCaprio)

Old 10-10-08, 07:38 AM
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Body of Lies (Dir. Scott, Crowe, DiCaprio)

I saw a preview screening last night and posted a review of it on my blog. Check it out:

http://thefilmstage.blogspot.com/

Count me in the group that is sick of "Iraq" films. Directed by Ridley Scott (American Gangster, Black Hawk Down) I had little excitement for Body of Lies and my mediocre expectations were fulfilled. There are decent moments of suspense and the film was well shot and well acted, but much of the story waded in familiar territory. The problems I had with last years American Gangster carried over to this film. I have seen all of this before. It is undoubtedly done well, but the material has been retreaded to death. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed, Blood Diamond) elevates the film with a terrific performance while Russell Crowe (3:10 to Yuma, American Gangster) literally doesn't do much the entire film. Mark Strong, last seen in this year's fun gangster romp RocknRolla, delivers a intense performance as Hani, Leo's go-to man in Jordan. Unfortunately the film stays wrapped up in boring back and forth double crosses with Leo, Crowe and Strong while never really going anywhere. Ultimately Body of Lies is a decent political thriller that will keep you entertained, but not deliver much to think about.

6 out of 10
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Old 10-10-08, 02:28 PM
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^ Your review pretty much sums it up for me.
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Old 10-10-08, 03:17 PM
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Don't see anything with DiCaprio.
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Old 10-10-08, 03:45 PM
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This has been getting pretty bad reviews, but the new New Yorker gives it a surprisingly positive writeup.
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Old 10-10-08, 04:02 PM
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The "O" gave a bad review also.

Ebert was kind of upbeat about it.

It was like 53% on Tomatoes last time I checked.
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Old 10-10-08, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by hasslein View Post
Don't see anything with DiCaprio.
You're missing out on some pretty good movies.
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Old 10-10-08, 04:22 PM
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I saw it last Monday, I wouldn't call it confusing, but its very easy to get lost in the film's plot.
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Old 10-10-08, 04:22 PM
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Surprised to see mixed reviews on this given the talent involved. I still plan on checking it out though.
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Old 10-10-08, 05:00 PM
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ill wait till its on dvd
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Old 10-10-08, 06:11 PM
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I liked it. Nothing amazing but it moved at a good pace, I enjoyed the plot (and could follow it no problem) and think that Crowe and DiCaprio do a great job as usual. Scott doesn't do anything outrageous style wise and the music does get a bit heavy handed but for the most part I was entertained and didn't mind that there wasn't more of a political agenda to the flick. Certainly a solid matinee. 3.5/5 (for the poll I picked 3, because if I have to round, it'd be down and not up).

Last edited by mdc3000; 10-10-08 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 10-10-08, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by hasslein View Post
Don't see anything with DiCaprio.
Wha !? "The Aviator", "Blood Diamond" and "The Departed" were all great films with a terrific performance by DiCaprio. The kid just keeps getting better with age.
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Old 10-10-08, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Bluelitespecial View Post
I saw it last Monday, I wouldn't call it confusing, but its very easy to get lost in the film's plot.
I thought the beginning was a tad confusing, but midway through it got it's stride, and I for one, enjoyed this film. Given that the majority of Iraq films have been, well... bad, this one wasn't IMO
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Old 10-10-08, 09:38 PM
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If it's as good as Black Rain was, I'll be good to go.
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Old 10-10-08, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Daytripper View Post
Wha !? "The Aviator", "Blood Diamond" and "The Departed" were all great films with a terrific performance by DiCaprio. The kid just keeps getting better with age.
Haven't seen 'em. I can't relate to him... You summed it up best when you said "the kid." Unfortunately, three interesting directors whose films under other circumstances I would never miss keep working with him.
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Old 10-10-08, 10:43 PM
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He's almost 35. How's that a kid?
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Old 10-10-08, 11:46 PM
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It's probably one of the better Iraq/War on Terror films. DiCaprio was good and Crowe was believable as the armchair operative. It seemed like a simplified and easier to comprehend version of Syriana, which has a couple too many plotlines for it to make sense IMO.

It had the look of Black Hawk Down, but wasn't as good as that film. Its pacing reminded me a lot of Spy Game especially with the back and forth between DiCaprio and Crowe.
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Old 10-11-08, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by thematahara View Post
He's almost 35. How's that a kid?
He's a kid to me. I'm older. And I've seen him since he was a bit part on "Growing Pains" right up until now.
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Old 10-11-08, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Zen Peckinpah View Post
If it's as good as Black Rain was, I'll be good to go.
Yikes. Not me. That's one of my least favorite Ridley Scott films. Only because I think Michael Douglas was miscast.
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Old 10-11-08, 01:28 AM
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Body Of Lies is alright. A lot of the plotting is awkward and DiCaprio never seems sincere. Crowe sits a lot, talks into a phone, and periodically looks over his glasses to let you know he's acting brilliantly.

Mark Strong is in it, and he's always fantastic multiplied by an awesome million. There's also shots of glistening low-flying helicopters, which are to Ridley Scott as F-14s are to Tony Scott. In fact, this is very much Ridley's Top Gun. Hotshot in over his head defies authority, gets in over his head and has to fight the faceless enemy of the state du jour. For a time he even has Arabic Goose.

So yeah, Body Of Lies: decent spy thriller, doesn't do anything new or different, looks nice for what it is, and Arabic Goose sounds tasty.

I really want Scott to make something really cool again.
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Old 10-11-08, 01:49 AM
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Originally Posted by thematahara View Post
He's almost 35. How's that a kid?
He looks like a kid, coupled with the soprano voice, I just don't buy him as an adult...
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Old 10-11-08, 07:32 AM
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A friend of mine is an extra in this film. Showed up expecting to be in a background shot and never see any of the talent. Ended up in a several-hours-to-film shot with just him and Crowe, getting actual direction from Scott, a 2nd day call back, a possible close-up of his face reacting to a predator strike. Said Crowe was great, chatted with him both days, shared a bag of chips.
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Old 10-11-08, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by hasslein View Post
He looks like a kid, coupled with the soprano voice, I just don't buy him as an adult...
The reason you don't buy him as an adult is because YOU SKIPPED THE FILMS WHERE HE BECAME A MAN. Seriously, The Aviator, Blood Diamond and The Departed heralded the arrival of DiCaprio as a serious leading MAN, not the boy he used to be IMO. Honestly, you're skipping 3 of the best films in recent memory (especially the Scorsese ones).
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Old 10-11-08, 09:33 AM
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Anatomy of a Scene
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Old 10-11-08, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mdc3000 View Post
The reason you don't buy him as an adult is because YOU SKIPPED THE FILMS WHERE HE BECAME A MAN. Seriously, The Aviator, Blood Diamond and The Departed heralded the arrival of DiCaprio as a serious leading MAN, not the boy he used to be IMO. Honestly, you're skipping 3 of the best films in recent memory (especially the Scorsese ones).
Well, your adamancy is persuading me to check them out, but I have seen him in interviews and award shows, and he still comes off as someone I really have no interest in. But, try them try them, I will see....
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Old 10-11-08, 09:42 PM
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Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe headline, and Ridley Scott directs "Body of Lies", a spy thriller that takes place in the middle east. With a trio of bankable cinematic talents on hand, does the film deliver? I would lean towards "not as much as I had hoped". The main problem is the script, which spends time setting up character temperments and tendencies, but never really offers anything too deep into their motivations, resulting in flat characters that do things because it's important to the plot, but doesn't feel true to spy operation. DiCaprio is agent Roger Ferris, a field agent with good instincts in the middle east, and Crowe is Ed Hoffman, an ambitious CIA director of operations who oversees Ferris.

The impetus of the film's plot is to find the head terrorist, Al-Saleem, whose organization is bombing different spots around the world, producing unrest and uncertainty. The film feels like 2 episodes of the Ferris and Hoffman show put together in a rather disjointed manner, which undermines the flow of the film. As previously alluded to, the 2nd half takes a bit of a detour in Ferris' personal life that has bad consequences, but it doesn't seem like something a smart agent like Ferris would involve himself, but it happens, and it's all to serve the plot, which I didn't buy, so I wasn't too keen on the concluding act of the film.

I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.
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