Body of Lies

User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 154 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 154

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User Reviews

  1. LisaB
    Sep 14, 2009
    4
    If it had not been for Mark Strong's performance in this movie, it would have been terrible. I'm a big DiCaprio fan, not so much of Crowe. But I expected a lot from this movie. As some people said before, it was a bit too Hollywood for my taste. But again, Strong's perforance steals the show and he proves that he can hold his own and even shine brighter than well known If it had not been for Mark Strong's performance in this movie, it would have been terrible. I'm a big DiCaprio fan, not so much of Crowe. But I expected a lot from this movie. As some people said before, it was a bit too Hollywood for my taste. But again, Strong's perforance steals the show and he proves that he can hold his own and even shine brighter than well known great actors. Expand
  2. DanyF.
    Sep 29, 2008
    6
    I have certainly seen much better from leo and crowe. This movie goes to fault as a disappointment, because it's pointless in all aspects, it works, but after a while it just doesn't go anywhere. There's no display in the relationship of Leo and many other peoples, their communication and survival against and upon one and other, like Babel. But Scott got lazy and Monahan I have certainly seen much better from leo and crowe. This movie goes to fault as a disappointment, because it's pointless in all aspects, it works, but after a while it just doesn't go anywhere. There's no display in the relationship of Leo and many other peoples, their communication and survival against and upon one and other, like Babel. But Scott got lazy and Monahan drew in excellence. I give it a 7 because i better give this some credit, it just is almost pathetic. But overall, when it comes to it's composition, it gushes out real hard and a gritty, intense, edge-of-your-seat ride. It's okay. Expand
  3. ChadS.
    Oct 15, 2008
    5
    The lonely person on the other end of the line wants to believe that the phone sex operator has her undivided attention on him alone. But that's just not the case. In Robert Altman's "Short Cuts", the jaded sex industry worker(played by Jennifer Jason Leigh), diapers her baby as she talks dirty to a client. Likewise, Ed Hoffman(Russell Crowe) achieves a seamless synchronicity The lonely person on the other end of the line wants to believe that the phone sex operator has her undivided attention on him alone. But that's just not the case. In Robert Altman's "Short Cuts", the jaded sex industry worker(played by Jennifer Jason Leigh), diapers her baby as she talks dirty to a client. Likewise, Ed Hoffman(Russell Crowe) achieves a seamless synchronicity between his professional and domestic life, too, tending to his young daughter while he's in communique with Roger Ferris(Leonardo DiCaprio), the man in the field, at the mercy of a disengaged partner, jaded, just like the sex hotline caller in the Altman film(based on the Raymond Carver short story collection). Film theorist Linda Williams, author of the essay "Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess", explicates on how victimized women elicit a corresponding fluid in three interconnected genres of film: semen(pornography), blood(horror), and tears(melodrama). In "Short Cuts", the fetishized release of a fluid is coordinated by an empowered woman; the phone sex operator instigates the happy ending, not the man. Likewise, while Ed is obviously not a woman, he assumes the feminine side of the gender binary, since Roger is a man of action(masculine), not talk. Losing semen can't kill a man like how losing blood can. Ed's relative indifference for his partner has the potential to result in an unhappy ending(death, unlike the happy ending; the little death); the real-life horror of being martyred by the enemy at some undisclosed location. Contrary to the popular(and condescending) notion that a woman could never start a war, the primary quality associated with traditional(or is that reactionary) womanhood(femininity), until recently(as women in combat became more prevalent, therefore unfixing the masculine/feminine binary), has been the catalyst behind wars since time immemorial, when people like Ed stayed behind and allowed the real men do the dirty work. It's even worse here, since Ed gives Roger his marching orders in the informal setting of his home. Like a housewife, perhaps? In "Body of Lies", through a multitude of intertextual prisms, the filmmaker unconsciously suggests that the final destination point of the film body is not exclusive to the tyranny of male objectification. Expand
  4. LincolnH.
    Sep 29, 2008
    6
    I am kind of disappointed with this movie. I mean, Ridley Scott did pretty good in American Gangster. But seriously, I'm not sure if this will be a highly critically raved film. That's just because this movie really falls short. It has the style and kick of The Kingdom, but this is actually not as exploit but as loud. The script from William Monahan is excellent, almost every I am kind of disappointed with this movie. I mean, Ridley Scott did pretty good in American Gangster. But seriously, I'm not sure if this will be a highly critically raved film. That's just because this movie really falls short. It has the style and kick of The Kingdom, but this is actually not as exploit but as loud. The script from William Monahan is excellent, almost every line is impressive and great. But Russell Crowe, like I've seen much better from him. Leo, he looks tired and with his accent, it sounds like it's an effortless accomplishment. But it's flawed. The editing is really good, but the movies execution is poor. Some moments are very predictable and boring. It just feels way too familiar. And I'm letdown by this disgrace. It shows no purpose or point of the film's based reason, it sends no message. It's just a huge action-clunker. It works as a good action movie, with great intensity. But the movie overall was as disappointing as Burn After Reading. So far, The Dark Knight is still the #1 film of 2008. Like come on, whens a there gonna be an actually good-solid movie this year. Expand
  5. BobbieohZ.
    Sep 29, 2008
    5
    This is like The Kingdom, but worse! I wouldn't spend a penny on this SHIT! It's up there with 10,000 BC and Jumper as being one of the year's worstest movies. It stinks. It's lame, pathetic, boring, dull, pointless, effortless, and a huge-snoozer (thats pretty bad for a loud actioner). The execution and especially direction drew me to an emotional shock. The sentiment This is like The Kingdom, but worse! I wouldn't spend a penny on this SHIT! It's up there with 10,000 BC and Jumper as being one of the year's worstest movies. It stinks. It's lame, pathetic, boring, dull, pointless, effortless, and a huge-snoozer (thats pretty bad for a loud actioner). The execution and especially direction drew me to an emotional shock. The sentiment and sensation is intense, but seriously this movie never matures and it tries ot be a Bourne movie with a shakey camera. The writing was easily perfect, but Monahan was ripped off by Ridley scott. you might wonder why i hate this movie. But trust me, I know a good movie when I see one, this isn't a good movie. Juts check it out, and you'll see why. Expand
  6. TravisB.
    Feb 21, 2009
    4
    I thought it was terrible. I struggled to finish it.
  7. Jun 6, 2012
    6
    Leo and Russell are the highlights, although Crowe's hair looks too fake. It's watchable even though it does get preachy at times. It's almost as if DiCaprio's character is repeating verbatim what the public has been saying about the war in Iraq for years. There's little chemistry between protagonists. An okay thriller dealing with trust, credibility, and the dangers of alliances.
  8. Dec 16, 2010
    6
    Russel Crowe - love the character change yet again. I liked the acting by the Jordan head of Intelligence .. Pasha whatever his name was - sorry. Leo is so so for me in action hero type of role. Good sets and effects.

    Movie was good not great.
  9. Jan 18, 2011
    6
    Just your average run of the mill CIA/Terrorist thriller. DiCaprio dies well in his role and Crowe is as annoying as he can possibly be (in a good way). The plot his complex and strong with its statement on political interference in the Middle East, but the movie just doesn't separate itself in any way from the myriad of other movies in this genre
  10. Jul 15, 2014
    6
    This one is alright to pretty good. Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe are great, Mark Strong's performance is also strong, while Oscar Isaac has a good turn as well. Ridley Scott's direction is also good as usual. The story us interesting and quite compelling for surs. The action is also done very well, which is nice. In addition, the cinematography and the sets are good, making theThis one is alright to pretty good. Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe are great, Mark Strong's performance is also strong, while Oscar Isaac has a good turn as well. Ridley Scott's direction is also good as usual. The story us interesting and quite compelling for surs. The action is also done very well, which is nice. In addition, the cinematography and the sets are good, making the imagery really nice and the locations believable. However, there are two major problems with this one. First, the script is poor. While the overall story is good, the telling of it is very convoluted and can be hard to follow at times. This is not helped by it being hard to hear some characters at times. In addition, the few scenes of torture are a little much for my liking. They are effective, but would have still been so if toned down just a little bit. Overall, Body of Lies is a solid action spy thriller sporting killer acting performances and an entertaining premise, which make the film an enjoyable one to watch. However, you have to pay close attention, as you can get lost easily. Expand
  11. Nov 15, 2013
    6
    Body of Lies tell truth to entertainment.
    The film floats on an interesting premise with very good action, and an artful execution. The movie is long and at some times less desirable with certain scenes that could have been edited out. The overall product is a slightly overly long entertaining film with good acting.
  12. Jan 19, 2016
    6
    I'm gonna divide this review into 5 parts: Directing, Cinematography,Writing,Score and finally Acting.
    Directing - I though that directing in this movie was quite alright. But the actors in my opinion didn't seem to be on the same page, so over acted while other didn't deliver. But having said that you could definitely feel Scott's vibe during the whole movie. In some episodes it even
    I'm gonna divide this review into 5 parts: Directing, Cinematography,Writing,Score and finally Acting.
    Directing - I though that directing in this movie was quite alright. But the actors in my opinion didn't seem to be on the same page, so over acted while other didn't deliver. But having said that you could definitely feel Scott's vibe during the whole movie. In some episodes it even reminded me something out of "Black Hawk down", maybe there is something special about Ridley Scott and the desert scenery. I would rate it 12/20
    Cinematography - I was really impressed with the cinematography of the movie, even though the movie wasn't all this great. But the locations looked really authentic and nice through out the movie. The whole movie had a dawn or even evening feeling. I would rate it 15/20
    Writing - The script in my opinion was the worst part of the movie. Even with this great cast the movie wasn't able to be intriguing or unpredictable. Having said that, the whole movie felt either rushed or dragged at the times. The plot felt short, even watching it in 2015-2016 were thing portrayed in the movie are happening right now. I would rate it 8/20
    Score - The score seemed very generic for an action movie. However i was watching this movie without surround system at home, but my impression was that the sound effects and soundtrack as whole might felt good in a movie theater. I would rate it 13/20
    Acting - Two of the leads Russel and Leo had very different roles and characters, yet one in my opinion was quite miserable and the other was decent enough. Crow either had a really bad role or it was bad casting choice, because he didn't seemed to fit the role. This was because of his bad accent or either because he didn't have any memorable lines. Leo on the other hand did quite decent job for the movie, towards the end. I also could not say, that actors had a really good chemistry especially the female actresses didn't seem to fit with Leo's character and the idea for Roger Ferris to speak so much Arabic doesn't seem to go well with the movie. I would rate it 11/20
    Now the MVP of the movie was Mark Strong who in my opinion had a really nice character who seemed to fit in the movie really well. Strong's delivery was very strong and could feel his chemistry with Leo in the scenes.
    In Total i would rate this movie - 59/100. This movie is decent for one time sitting.
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  13. Mar 27, 2016
    5
    Neither the location-based verisimilitude of Ridley Scott’s shooting style nor the estimable Middle East expertise of source-material author David Ignatius can disguise “Body of Lies” as anything other than the contrived phony-baloney it is. Coming on like an inside account of CIA operations against jihad-minded terrorists, pic shows its true colors by featuring a shootout, chase or bigNeither the location-based verisimilitude of Ridley Scott’s shooting style nor the estimable Middle East expertise of source-material author David Ignatius can disguise “Body of Lies” as anything other than the contrived phony-baloney it is. Coming on like an inside account of CIA operations against jihad-minded terrorists, pic shows its true colors by featuring a shootout, chase or big explosion every 10 minutes or so, on its way to a climax so conventional it would have been at home in a 1940s Warner Bros. melodrama. Despite the Iraq War hovering in the background, Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe leading the charge in a high-octane would-be thriller.

    Due to Scott’s clear interest in West vs. Arab conflict, explored in both “Black Hawk Down” and “Kingdom of Heaven,” novelist and journalist Ignatius’ intimate knowledge of the scene and scenarist William Monahan’s proven skill with complicated narratives and pungent dialogue, there was reason here to hope for something more than an updated companion piece to Ridley’s brother Tony’s 2001 espionage meller “Spy Game.”

    The setup certainly has merit. A dedicated Arabist and fluent in the language, rough-and-tumble CIA op Roger Ferris (DiCaprio) works the treacherous streets of the Middle East, be it in Iraq, Jordan or Syria, trying to recruit help, infiltrate cells and uncover plots against steep odds. His boss back in Langley, Ed Hoffman (Crowe), is a blunt realist who admits that a democracy is “an easy target” and that it wouldn’t be all that hard to bring Western civilization down.

    Better yet, the story hinges on an ingenious plot hatched by Ferris to flush out a shadowy master terrorist who’s embarked upon a series of devastating bombings against civilian targets but never steps forward to take credit: Ferris creates an entirely fictitious rival terror organization whose atrocities and unknown leader are designed to force the real perpetrator far enough into the open for apprehension.

    Sounds like a can’t-miss premise. But Scott and Monahan, who teamed on “Kingdom of Heaven,” take a mostly formulaic approach that becomes more disappointing as the yarn unwinds, right up to the cornball denouement that is everything that even some internal dialogue had promised it wouldn’t be.

    Working in similar rugged-modern-adventurer mode as he did in “Blood Diamond,” DiCaprio frequently gets roughed up and bloodied, to the point where his character even seems to like it. As he tries to ferret out a potential informant in the Iraqi desert or to run surveillance on a terrorist safe house in Amman, Ferris is observed by Hoffman via crisp overhead images provided by high-flying drones. Given the technology at hand, it seems surprising the CIA doesn’t enjoy a higher success rate than it appears to.

    But as Hoffman himself best articulates, terrorists can flourish by going no-tech, relying on quiet person-to-person communications. This is where Ferris proves invaluable, at least to the extent that Hoffman permits him to function on his own terms.

    Despite the sociopolitical points of interest and even insight, however, the scenario begins to feel contorted and ultimately poisoned by its adherence to movie conceits rather than real-world terms; the film capitulates to what it’s thought audiences want from Hollywood action cinema, rather than going its own original way with material that could have been far more absorbing and provocative. No matter how credible and realistic the urban and countryside scenes may look (many Morocco locations doubled for the numerous Middle Eastern locales represented), what takes place in them comes off as increasingly hokey and concocted. In the end, “Body of Lies” infuses the thriller format with hot modern issues less successfully than did last year’s “The Kingdom.”

    DiCaprio throws himself into the middle of dangerous doings much as he did in “Blood Diamond” and “The Departed,” that is to say with grit, determination and an underlying need to prove something. Strong makes a marked impression as the cultivated Jordanian spy boss, Farahani brings spirit to a standard role and Simon McBurney adds another eccentric to his resume as a nerdy computer genius.

    And then there’s Russell Crowe. Asked by Scott to put on 50 pounds for the role of the Cofer Black-like CIA figure, the actor has clearly obliged, to the point where he now looks like a candidate to succeed the late, great JT Walsh as a specialist in beefy, menacing supporting characters. Sporting cropped salt-and-pepper hair and an Arkansas accent, Crowe literally phones this one in — as perhaps half his performance is spent speaking by cell phone to DiCaprio overseas; the other half has him peering over reading glasses to make his point. It would be nice to see this great actor toughen up again and take on some more challenging roles.
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Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. It may not be as much fun as old spy movies starring Cary Grant or more recent entertainments such as "Spy Game," directed by Ridley's brother Tony, but it feels all too accurate.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    A mostly formulaic approach that becomes more disappointing as the yarn unwinds.
  3. The film has one indelible asset: Mark Strong, who plays the Jordanian spymaster Hani. He's sleek and lounge-lizard sharp like a young Andy Garcia, and he could be bigger than Garcia. The Jordanian holds all the cards, and opposite two superstars, Strong is the only actor who holds the camera.