Monday, December 01, 2008

Body of Lies (8/10)

Finally a movie on the middle-east that is more than the usual hollywoood mishmash of false bravado and nauseating hypocrisy. Ridley Scott is back to his best with this intriguing tale of lies, treachery and misinformation.

A CIA operative(Leonardo DiCaprio) based in the middle-east, is on the trail of a major islamist terrorist. He is being ordered, aided, guided and controlled by his boss (Russell Crowe) who is based in the USA and monitoring every movement of his field agent. An ingenious plot is hatched and executed perfectly to smoke out the terrorist, but it goes wrong. All this leads to a denouement in which the intelligence chief of Jordan (played immaculately by Mark Strong) plays an important role.

What makes this movie stand out from the rest of the crap thats supposedly protraying the middle east? A brilliantly restrained, and thus realistic direction. A very coherent plot thats never allowed to get too convoluted. A refreshing sense of perspective where realities of life are faced, instead of the mindless glorification of all things connected to the US of A. And brilliant acting. DiCaprio, Crowe and Strong are near-perfect in their roles. The dialogue is minimal and to the point, and most of the time, the visuals, the music and the circumstances do the talking. The action, similarly, is economical; for the most part eschewing with melodramatic action sequences for more realistic street chases and hand-to-hand combat.

At the end of the movie, one can't help but ponder over Crowe's line, "Nobodys innocent in this shit", and the possibly improper use the good guys could make, of this incontrovertible fact. Sure this kind of battle is dirty, messy and unclean, but does it mean that its impossible to retain any shred of morals and principles for the ultimate aim?

A thought-provoking film.

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