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Review: Body of lies

Combining the ticking-clock tension of The Bourne Ultimatum with the complex geopolitical themes of Syriana, Scott turns his camera’s gaze on two top CIA officials determined to track down a terrorist mastermind, writes Rashid Irani.

movie reviews Updated: Oct 17, 2008 18:50 IST
Rashid Irani

Body of lies
Cast : Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe
Direction : Ridley Scott
Rating : ***

They have forged one of the significant actor-director bonds in recent American cinema. The fourth collaboration between filmmaker Ridley Scott and Oscar-winning star Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Good Year, American Gangster) is a timely thriller about the U S involvement in the Middle East.

Combining the ticking-clock tension of The Bourne Ultimatum with the complex geopolitical themes of Syriana, Scott turns his camera’s gaze on two top CIA officials determined to track down a terrorist mastermind.

Cut to an overweight commander (Crowe), who’s constantly watching live aerial images of the conflict, in such hotbed zones as Iraq and Jordan.

And the other is an idealistic intelligence agent (DiCaprio, choosing his roles judiciously as ever) who’s thrust in the thick of battle. Bullets fly, helicopters explode and there’s plenty of brutalisation.

Even as the carnage mounts around him, the commander enters into a liaison with a young nurse (popular Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, who accepted the assignment despite opposition from her country’s regime). Their ongoing relationship is depicted somewhat mawkishly.

The pace is leisurely and at times, quite downbeat. But there are a couple of exciting showdowns with the head of Jordanian intelligence (Italian-British actor Mark Strong, in scene-stealing form).

Body of Lies is not among Ridley Scott’s best by any stretch of the imagination. Still, it’s certainly worth a watch, mainly for some high-octane action scenes plus the power-packed performances by DiCaprio and Crowe.

Reportedly, Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott have already completed principal photography for their fifth feature film. Based on the legend of Robin Hood, Nottingham is slated for release early next year. Be on the lookout.