It’s hard to remain a Ridley Scott fan these days. Once a director who could make anything – an Apple computer, a chest-bursting alien, Edward James Olmos – seem sexy, Scott has largely eschewed his fog-thickening ways (as if achieving cinematic lushness were somehow less than honorable). Last year’s American Gangster and now the spy-by-numbers Body Of Lies reveal an oddly generic filmmaker, gifted with huge budgets and high-profile talent but lacking a signature.

The confusing new movie, adapted way too faithfully from David Ignatius’s tricky 2007 novel, has more plot than necessary. It comes to life only when Leonardo DiCaprio, playing a supercapable CIA agent setting up shop in Jordan, speaks the terse language of operational tactics – he’s after a bin Laden-like spectre – or flirts with a sly nurse (Farahani) in fluent Arabic. DiCaprio has never been afraid to come off like a hothead, and when his plans go awry, he lights up the movie with rage.

Meanwhile, Russell Crowe, as a carbed-up desk warrior peering through spy satellites, takes his kids to soccer. He drives them to school. He barbecues. We get it: Spooks are people too. Always, he’s chattering on the cell attached to his ear. (Roaming charges must be a huge part of the national defense budget.) You wait for the inevitable frosting of eyes and verbal takedown, for their competition to become fatal, but Crowe’s Arkansan is actually the film’s comic relief. Ridley Scott must be the only director in the world who still finds him funny.

Body Of Lies

Genre: Thriller
Duration: 128 mintues
Released: Oct 20th
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong, Golshifteh Farahani, Oscar Isaac, Simon McBurney
Language: English
Classification: 18+
Body Of Lies
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