One of the most well presented and outstanding screenplays I have seen in recent times; Body of Lies (2008) happened to simply leave me marveling at the edge of my seat. The movie is an adaptation of the novel by the same name written by David Ignatius, released in 2007. Ignatius is a columnist for The Washington Post and has written few other novels around the suspense/thriller genre owing to his immense knowledge in foreign affairs. Well, that explains as to why Ridley Scott (Director) and William Monahan (Writer) considered an adaptation- the material was all there… the real task was Depiction.
And ace it was.
Body of Lies is woven around the post 9/11 scenario, where America is most naturally scavenging for terrorist outfits across the Middle East: and that involves the CIA and its most unnerving attempts at getting its hands on any possible suspect. In the midst of these trying times, are Ed Hoffman (Russel Crowe); CIA veteran, keeping tabs on activities and modules that interest the US Intelligence, with his ground information- spewing operative Roger Ferris (Leonardo Di Caprio). Ferris, as ground in-charge, is risking each day as he storms into cells and hideouts of some of the most suspicious outfits in remote areas, aerially surveilled by Hoffman and his men. Ferris is sent on a mission to Jordan, to track down the most threatening of all terror modules- that of Al Saleem’s. There, Ferris encounters the head of Jordanian General Intelligence Department, Hani Salaam (Mark Strong) who influences his moral and ethical ideas on Ferris. In collaboration, they set out to investigate into the whereabouts of Al Saleem. But deception and double-tricks lie in Ferris’ path. A pawn in the hands of CIA, he is constantly thwarted by his contemporaries… and strives to expose the workings of Al Saleem by a brilliantly orchestrated plan…
The brilliance of the movie is resonated by Leonardo DiCaprio’s stellar performance. The boy from Titanic has proved himself yet again, after giving remarkable performances in The Departed and Blood Diamond.
The movie demands applause owing to the simple fact that scriptwriting was crisp and plot most astounding- it took a great deal to crack the storyline, as it challenges you to think beyond what is shown. Leo shone through and through… and was the real show stealer.
Crowe fitted the role with ease, his only role being that of a constant watchdog to DiCaprio’s working. The laptop- and- handsfree dictator was shown to be quite a glutton as opposed to the high level adrenalin rushes that DiCaprio portrayed in Ferris’ skin.
The undercutting storylines ultimately fit into the larger picture as a jigsaw puzzle meant to be left jumbled, and the director skillfully resolved to last minute revelations which inspired the audience to believe in the tagline the movie entails- ‘Trust no one, deceive everyone’.
I would rate this movie for the thrill and suspense, of course, as promised by the trailers. But I would recommend it as a Must Watch for all since this happens to be one of Leonardo’s most exceptional performances. He deserves attention- and that is indisputable.