Wednesday, March 18, 2009

[rev.] Body of Lies

“Nobody’s innocent in this shit.” Over and over one hears this in the movie; over and over one sees it borne out. Most notably by the fellow saying it. More directly: everyone is out for his own interests; perhaps not his own person, but certainly his own side. Whether wearing grungy blue jeans or Armani suit or at children’s soccer games - everyone has his own goal. It's like a Venn diagram - everyone's area overlaps, but suspiciously so - it's not the part that overlaps which will get you, it's what lies in the other part of the area that doesn't overlap.

We are drawn into being sympathetic, yet discover what we like about them hides the reasons we shouldn’t like them. It’s not a twisty plot of surprises, but the plot is only straightforward when viewed from the end in the very big picture.

A CIA agent fights the Good Fight against terrorism in the Middle East. Is there anyone worthy of our friendship (the governmental agency kind)? Who can we trust? Even more importantly, who should trust us? Nobody’s innocent - those who want to be trustworthy aren’t allowed to be: neither them nor us.

I’m probably one of the few women under 45 and over 25 who only saw Titanic once. I’m even more likely in the minority who thought it was a nice movie, but not awe inspiring. And I certainly was too old to fall in vapors over Leonardo di Caprio either in that or Romeo & Juliet. I thought Blood Diamonds was one of his better works, displaying real talent. Body of Lies eclipses that, providing a “solid performance” (I think the stock phrase is). The not-stock phrase: wow, that was a good movie.

It’s easier to see an actor who normally plays ‘the good guy’ continue to play one; it’s more challenging to see the normally ‘good-guy-playing-$5,000,000-earning-actor’ play an SOB. Russell Crowe was annoyingly good; the sort of fellow one loves to loathe. After seeing di Caprio in Blood Diamonds, his character’s performance wasn’t a surprise. After seeing Crowe in just about anything else, his character gives an opportunity to see his skills. A leading man who doesn't have to be center stage to be impressive.

I’m only left wondering if the CIA actually has anyone running big operations for them who is so Not A Company Guy. The technology gizmos I'll accept are either in existence or else are just a reasonably plausible as a plot device.

HealthyGopher's rating:
4 - Definitely see it on video.

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