Watch any one of the many trailers or TV spots for Body of Lies and you’re left without a clue as to what the movie is about. Instead, they entice you solely with shots of exploding trucks, the bankable name Ridley Scott, and acting giants Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. But when you see Body of Lies or realize that it’s written by William Monahan (The Departed), you’ll understand exactly why you know nothing about it: The plot for Body of Lies is far too complex to explain in a two-minute trailer, let alone in a 30-second TV spot.
Here’s my attempt at properly explaining Body of Lies: DiCaprio plays Roger Ferris, a CIA special agent working toward busting the al-Qaida forces in the Middle East. Crowe plays Ed Hoffman, Ferris’ egotistical, power-hungry boss who runs the operations from the U.S.
When a messy job in Iraq gets his presence blown, Hoffman moves Ferris to Jordan to attack terrorism from another angle — working with the Jordanian secret service. Ferris’ work begins progressing rapidly, until his Jordanian partner and American boss, Hoffman, end up in a greedy power struggle. It’s then that Ferris has to secretly start doing things on his own.
While Body of Lies is highly complex, you never get lost in the story. It unfolds in a way that brings you along with it to the next step. That is the brilliance of Monahan’s writing and Scott’s directing. And their work is only done justice thanks to an amazing cast. As always, DiCaprio allows his character to engulf him, emitting the most comprehensive and powerful emotions. Once again, he proves to be one of the best leading actors in Hollywood. And paired with Scott’s regular, Crowe, DiCaprio once again shows he can keep up with the best.
For a film delving into such controversial subject matter, it might have ended up unnecessarily espousing opinions about the war in Iraq, but it didn’t. The film does make comments about the war, but without definitively aligning itself with one view. If any message is conveyed at all, it’s one about torture. And it’s straightforward with what it’s trying to say.
Leaving the theater after watching Body of Lies, you will feel a sort of weariness from having been taken on such a complicated, tense and unpredictable road. Imagine watching any Bourne movie and Tony Scott’s Spy Game smashed into 128 minutes. It leaves you exhausted.
If you’re a fan of Scott, DiCaprio, Crowe or any of the previously mentioned movies, then there is absolutely no reason why you won’t love Body of Lies.