I already gave my two cents on this one in our animated Spill review and I liked it quite a bit. I guess I still owe Jason something for all the atrocious stuff I've made him review for the site. Here's his review...
I wish Ridley Scott
were my dad. There. I said it. Nothing against my own biological father, of course, but the chap I’ve called ‘pop’
for so long – well, he didn’t direct ‘Alien’
, now did he? He’s not some cool old British dude whose man-seed mixed with Harrison Ford
and Phillip K. Dick
’s to give ‘Alien’
the beautiful sibling that is ‘Blade Runner.’
My dad is great, fantastic even, but he didn’t direct a movie where Ray Liotta
is made to eat his own damned brains. I figure it’s the least I can do. Let Ridley Scott
adopt me, ‘cause he’s not getting enough love otherwise. The Academy, in all of their vast and pretentious knowledge, regularly chooses to ignore him. No, he’s not perfect. A few minor missteps have kept him from being canonized, but the guy has never spat in the face of his audience, now has he? He’s consistent. He’s versatile. So Ridley
, I’ll be the adoring son you never had. I’ll call you on your birthday, draw ‘Dad is Fucking Awesome’
pictures for you to put on the fridge, and maybe we can play catch before we prank call Russell Crowe
‘Body of Lies’
is another notch in Scott
’s belt, one that came and went with only a minor splash. It tells the tale of a CIA at war with itself. Ferris
) and Hoffman
) duel, each of them trying to stop the bad guy, but consistently getting in each other’s way. Ferris
is the hardened field man, getting his hands dirty in dusty death pits all over the world. On the other side of the planet is Hoffman
, playing the puppeteer in an arena where he seems unable to see the forest for the trees. His every whim puts Ferris
’ life on the line, while both of them struggle to simply do the right thing. As they get closer to their shared goal of nailing the terrorist mastermind Al-Saleem
’ life, as well as the war on terror, slides closer to the abyss.
Pulled from the novel by David Ignatius
and adapted by William Monahan
, the story is exceptionally intelligent. At every turn, it shows us the icy logic of difficult decisions, even while the characters seem to twirl drunkenly through political and cultural minefields. There’s a buffet of topics served up: public opinion, the stamina of countries involved in war, tactical decisions, moral ambiguity, and the personal toll of a life of espionage. It treats none of them lightly and somehow manages not to choke on what it’s bitten off. My only complaint is that with the CIA so at odds internally, Al-Saleem
didn’t quite become a fully realized antagonist. He’s not invisible, but I really would have liked to hate him. Scott
’s directing is kinetic, stylish, and gimmick free. Gimmicks are his little brother’s bag, incidentally. Make no mistake, this is not an action movie, but the action that’s there is riveting. It draws much of its energy from compelling performances that meld almost seamlessly with their surroundings. (It’s still a little hard for me to swallow DiCaprio
as any sort of badass.)
-Commentary track with Scott
, and Ignatius
– I listened to a little bit of this. There’s no ‘LEOG lunacy’
here that a group discussion can bring. It’s all obviously recorded separately and kind of tough to get through.
-Actionable Intelligence – Several very detailed featurettes that show off the power of Blue Ray. You can check them out individually, as ‘pop up’
options during the flick, or as a lengthy documentary. If you enjoyed the movie, you’ll want to check these out.
-BD-Live functionality - (Has anyone tried this yet?)
-Deleted Scenes – The scenes here don’t add a lot, but this does have one of those rare alternate endings that is notably different from the theatrical release. It’s interesting and some would say better than the one they went with.
The glut of politically charged films in a time of war gets tiresome. That’s what I was wary of here. There are elements of ‘Rendition’
and ‘The Kingdom’
here to be sure but ‘Body of Lies’
examines the big picture while ultimately bringing it down to a personal level, perhaps even more deftly than the others. It’s exactly what an exploration of the war needs in a film. In case you haven’t been paying attention, it’s another voice saying how catastrophically entangled it all is – definitely the voice of Hollywood. Unfortunately, it’s never the black-and-white of good versus evil. Maybe that’s the truth of it, though. My dad, an old fashioned cowboy, would never have made this movie. Then again, my dad never would have played that awful Guns N Roses
song over the credits. It’s okay, though, pretend dad Ridley
. I’ll forgive you as long as you give me another kick ass sci-fi movie for Christmas.
And while we're picking celebrities to adopt us can I get Scarlett Johansson as my Mother? It's feeding time and I'm getting a little cranky.
Click Here to Buy Body of Lies (+ Digital Copy and BD Live) [Blu-ray]