Oct 152008
Authors: kelly bleck

Tensions in the Middle East rise and American relations crumble with corruption in “Body of Lies” with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, based of the novel by David Ignatius.

Governmental mistakes, irresponsible missions and bad relations with allies in the Middle East are revealed when Roger Ferris (DiCaprio), led by CIA-boss Ed Hoffman (Crowe), uncovers a safe house for al-Qaida working out of Jordan.

The connections with Jordanian allies are increasingly dramatic after poorly placed operatives and undermining tactics overwhelm the power-hungry Hoffman.

The introduction sets the overall tone of the movie; the war between the Middle East and America is driven, from America’s side, by lack of intelligence and information, while the terrorist organization relies on hand-to-hand contact, a much more efficient way of delivering the vital information.

The inconsistencies between the way the terrorists undermine the Americans, and the way the Americans retaliate, are a source of constant angst for Ferris.

As an operative working in the Middle East, Ferris’ view differs from that of Hoffman, who is, ironically, an overweight man running the show from behind American lines.

As the story progresses, tensions between the ultra-involved Ferris and hands-off Hoffman thicken. Characters portray the implied misinformed and disconnected CIA hierarchy regarding the war, while the operatives in the Middle East are disregarded completely.

DiCaprio sufficiently plays the frustrated undermined operative, affected by the killing and loss of friends that the war inevitably induces.

Crowe, playing an almost secondary roll, encompasses the lazy, unconcerned management who suppresses emotion and focuses on power and, ultimately, national safety.

The lower-level characters, the terrorist head Al-Saleem (Alon Aboutboul) and hopeful ally to Ferris, Hani Salaam (Mark Strong), incorporate the levels of distrust that can arouse within countries, and within organizations.

Ultimately, the layout and casting reveal the plot, but the inconsistency and occasional confusion take away from the overall point trying to be achieved.

With a complex, high-energy plot, “Body of Lies” tries to fulfill the demanding role of uncovering truth and lies within governmental units, all of which are trying to ensure national security but clashing over how to achieve the end result.

Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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