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Body of Lies


Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Golshifteh Farahani, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Simon McBurney

Director: Ridley Scott

For all its explosions and chases, this is a distinctly average CIA/terrorist thriller, whose action switches bewilderingly from country to country and continent to continent. Far-fetched in the extreme, it does have two excellent performances - from DiCaprio, as the CIA's Middle East agent on the ground, and Strong as the cultured head of Jordanian Intelligence. Crowe is rather annoying as DiCaprio's portly and uncaring spymaster, but it's the fault of the script rather than the actor.

There's a terrorist ring blowing up targets in Britain and Holland, and it's DiCaprio's job to track down the ringleader, Al-Saleem (Alon Aboutboul). While romancing a Jordanian nurse (Farahani), DiCaprio launches a harebrained scheme involving the framing of an innocent architect (Ali Suliman) as the leader of a non-existent rival terrorist group, which is supposed to bring Al-Saleem out into the open. Not surprised that doesn't work.

Meanwhile, Strong, carving out a memorable character, has his own, rather more intelligent agenda. Sharply shot and fiercely edited, the film will satisfy fans of second-level, highly-coloured CIA thrillers.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
127 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 16 Nov 2008