5/7 Dir Ridley Scott US (PG15) The last thing you expect from a film combining several Hollywood powerhouses – Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe star, Ridley Scott directs – is for it to open on the grim, grey streets of working class Manchester, the camera panning across rows of red-brick terraced houses. Yes, it’s yet another film about the ‘war on terror’. But with scenes shot across the globe, from Amsterdam to Dubai, it at least acknowledges the impact on those apart from the US.
DiCaprio is Roger Ferris, a CIA agent working out in the field. Risking his life at every turn, he does the agency’s grunt work, scrambling from Iraq to Amman in pursuit of Al Saleem, leader of a major terrorist cell. Crowe is Ed Hoffman, strategising operations from the end of a phone line, ordering Ferris about while he multi-tasks at home (taking the kids to school, toilet training his son, etc). It’s a clichéd set-up: the guy on the ground knows the realities, is sympathetic; the fat bloke back in the US makes bad decisions because he doesn’t understand. But somewhere beneath this is an intelligent film fighting to get out.
Example: the ‘good guy’ is no innocent – he works for the CIA, after all. When the manipulators become the manipulated, it feels real and profound. DiCaprio is convincing, and Crowe is well cast as a man we’re not meant to like. Only, Body Of Lies doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know. It’s a good film, with good intentions, but there’s little to mark it out as anything really special. Dhs85 from Virgin Megastore
1/7 Dir Alexandre Aja US (PG18) Mirrors can be scary things – they show the shadows behind you, they catch glimpses of things you did not know were there. Plus, you can summon the Candyman from them, if the horror film of the same name is to be believed. So the idea of your reflection doing something different to yourself is a great premise for a screamathon. What a shame that, in possession of real potential, Mirrors still manages to be twaddle.
An ex-cop with a past takes a night-watch security job in the burned ruins of an old New York department store. The whole place is surrounded by Mirrors, and they soon start to show said cop terrifying reflections – people being burned alive and the like. Then the reflections come after his family, and he must solve a mystery involving a schizophrenic and a nun to save them.
Inexplicably, Kiefer Sutherland stars in the lead role; one would have assumed his recent TV success could keep him from such humiliations. Then again, it’s easy money, which is clearly the whole point of the exercise. Absolutely no effort has been invested into writing the plot, which is utter nonsense, leaving the ‘thrills’ to cheap gore. Shameful. Dhs85 from Virgin Megastore