Body of Lies – Movie Review

‘Body of lies’ tries to retrace the operative methods of CIA Operative, Roger Ferris (played competently by Leonardo DiCaprio) who is posted in the Middle East and keeps shuttling between countries such as Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia working on various assignments. He is trying to track down a terrorist called Al-Saleem who has already succeeded in bombing locations in UK and is planning more such bombs in mainland Europe. Ferris’ handler, Ed Hoffman (excellent performance by Russell Crowe) is keeping constant tabs on Ferris and keeps giving him lots of necessary information as well as ideas and thoughts on how to go about handling an issue.

However, Ferris does not look down too kindly upon Hoffman actively intervening in situations and double-guessing him. His rationale being that the operative on the field has to rely on his instincts and go with the flow, rather than operating in a situation where some of the action is controlled by people sitting halfway across the world. If anything, such a situation could put the on-field operative more in harm’s way than anything else. Suffice to say that Ferris and Hoffman shared a relationship that was anything but cordial, but they almost always got the job done.

Ferris’ search for Al-Saleem takes him to Jordan, when he befriends Hani Salaam (played well by Mark Strong), head of Jordanian General Intelligence Department. Hani takes Ferris into his confidence based on only one condition that Ferris remains truthful to him at all times, and does not lie to him at any cost. Here in Jordan, Ferris learns of Hani’s considerable influence over field agents and operatives. Hani’s unconventional methods and reliance on relationships as a coercive force impress Ferris, which when contrasted with Hoffman’s methods which rely on speed more than accuracy seem to be more effective to Ferris.

Hoffman ends up ruining Ferris’ relationship with Hani due to one of his operations where he puts the CIA behind Karami, one of Hani’s men, which results in the CIA losing a good lead in Jordan and probably missing out on getting closer to Al-Saleem. This results in Hani forgiving Ferris only to the extent of time required for him to get out of Jordan with a strict warning never to be seen again in the country. Ferris goes back to the US and has a tiff with Hoffman accusing him of being high-handed, with the suggestion that going forward, he leaves field operations to operatives themselves.

While in the US, Ferris comes up with an innovative plan to draw out Al-Saleem into the open. Whether this works or not forms the rest of the movie, and is something to be seen in the movie to be enjoyed. Masterful performances by Russell Crowe and DiCaprio carry this movie forward. Plus the fact, that I am a sucker for spy movies which are well made also made this a particularly enjoyable movie for me.


Related links –

Wikipedia link

IMDB link

Allmovie link

Rotten Tomatoes link

Metacritic link

Box Office Mojo link


3 thoughts on “Body of Lies – Movie Review

  1. Awesome review. I have seen it two years back and it wasn't a great one but the ending of this movie was simply terrific. Out of all the movies that were out in that year this one was a complete surprise package to me. I suggest all those who have not seen it must watch movies

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