Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the best man US intelligence has on the ground, in places where human life is worth no more than the information it can get you. In operations that take him around the globe, Ferris' next breath often depends on the voice at the end of a secure phone-line - CIA veteran Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe).
Waging war from a laptop in the suburbs, Hoffman is on the trail of an emerging terrorist leader who has orchestrated a campaign of bombings while eluding the most sophisticated intelligence network in the world. To lure the terrorist out into the open, Ferris will have to penetrate his murky world. But the closer he gets to the target, the more he discovers that trust is both a dangerous commodity and the only thing that will get him out alive...
Set it next to the similar Middle-East intrigue of Syriana
, and Body of Lies
is easy to follow, in fact, this movie's plot is amazingly straightforward for an espionage flick. Leonardo DiCaprio is the CIA agent on the ground, an Arabic-speaking chameleon who believes in forging personal relationships based on trust and professionalism. Russell Crowe is his supervisor, a meddler who makes up the rules as he goes along and is more than willing to trade long-term benefits for a short-term "win". While working on a case in Jordan, DiCaprio gets a modest flirtation going with a nurse (Golshifteh Farahani), although his most intense relationship is with a Jordanian intelligence chief (great role for Mark Strong) who takes a wary view of the CIA's activities. Ridley Scott directs as though weary of all the fuss, and his merriment in Crowe's breezy sociopath gives the movie a rather strange aftertaste. It gets the job done, although after it's over you might find yourself craving the head-scratching complications of Syriana
. --Robert Horton