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Movie Review: Body of Lies

Body of Lies

Scott, Crowe and Dicaprio delivers the goods this weekend:

If Timecop taught us anything at all, it’s that two things can’t occupy the same space at the same time. Of course, that film was referring to the convergence of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s devastating roundhouse kick and eventually, Ron Silver’s malevolent late-’90s beard; but in his new film, Ridley Scott proves that even if “things” can’t coexist peacefully, then at least ideas can. Body of Lies, adapted by William Monahan (The Departed) from the novel by David Ignatius, expresses the provocative and profound notion that cynicism and hope can survive alongside one another, and occasionally, merge into a singular expression of both. It’s also this complexity and sophistication that makes body of lies not only one of the best films ever made about the Middle Eastern conflict, but an ambitious piece of entertainment that features terrific performances and a thoughtful, dazzling story.

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed) plays Roger Ferris, a CIA operative who is neck-deep in double-crosses and conspiracies as he negotiates in earnest with defected terrorists for information in the Middle East. His superior, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), hands down orders and advice via telephone but is comfortably stationed thousands of miles away in a life of routine and domesticity. With one proviso – namely, that he always tells the truth – Roger brokers a tenuous deal with a Jordanian security officer named Hani (Mark Strong) in order to pursue an up-and-coming terrorist who is poised to become the next Osama Bin Laden. But when Ed decides to press another team into service to accelerate the pursuit, Roger finds himself caught between his superior and Hani, who is as feared as he is respected. Soon, Roger discovers that it’s not only his enemies that he must fear, but also his allies, as Hoffman and Hani’s race to apprehend the same criminal not only escalates tensions between America and Jordan, but endangers his life and that of a young nurse named Aisha (Golshifteh Farahani) with whom he has grown close.

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