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"Body of Lies" *** 1/2 (128 minutes)

Tuesday October 7, 2008

Although not always a definite, the pedigree for this political thriller was an indication that my 2 hour plus attendance would ultimately be worthwhile. After all, you had one of world's most talented director (Ridley Scott), 2 of our most talented actors (Leonardo DiCaprio & Russell Crowe), and an Academy Award winning screenwriter (William Monahan who won Best Adapted Screenplay last year for "The Departed"). My faith was fully confirmed as this is one helluva taut intelligent thriller, masterfully directed by the "Black Hawk Down" maestro- who fully knows the genre. Based on the novel by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, Monahan has written a smart script that will have you intrigued throughout. Although Crowe has gained 50 pounds and very capably plays a cynical CIA boss (albeit a rather pedestrian one note performance), this film belongs to DiCaprio, playing a CIA field operative whose every move is being orchestrated by the stay-at-home Crowe. I fully expect another AA nom (he's even better than last year's wonderful "Blood Diamond"). DiCaprio is working with the Jordanian intelligence chief (chillingly played by Mark Strong, an English stage and screen actor whose work here might garner him a supporting acting nod) trying to flesh out a terrorist leader in Jordan who is anonymously creating havoc in European cities. Golshifteh Farahani plays DiCaprio's Jordanian love interest whose kidnapping sets up the final half hour of action and suspense. My only main fault, once again, is the ever present, incessant soundtrack (this time around by Mark Streitenfeld who is back working with Ridley after scoring "American Gangster") that seems to be a part of virtually every scene. Scott knows how to stage spectacular effective action sequences as well as anyone on the planet. That as well as the wonderful script is sure to keep you from watching your clock to see when it all will end.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

This movie is definitely one the best of 2008