Lies Shows Truth
October 17, 2008
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Body of Lies begins with a profound quote by W.H. Auden: “I and the public know, what all schoolchildren learn. Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return.” Auden wrote these lines in regards to Germany’s invasion of Poland which can be related to the central theme in Body of Lies. This film offers a poignant portrayal of the lifestyle in the Middle East and the role CIA tactics of American government play in the War on Terror.
Body of Lies is based on a novel by David Ignatius, an American journalist who spent a lot of time covering the CIA and issues concerning the Middle East. Roger Farris, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a CIA operative in Jordan. He was stationed in the Middle East to assist in the war on terror. Farris discovers information about Al-Saleem (a proxy for Osama Bin Laden); the Islamist ringleader who organizes various unjust bombings in civilian territories. Farris and his boss, Ed Hoffman, formulate a plot to trounce Al-Saleem. Cultural and moral issues create obstacles for the men as they execute their mission.
Body of Lies exposed many elements of the Middle East. Farris falls in love with a Middle Eastern woman. He is unable to show any signs of affection, including shaking her hand, due to judgment by the Middle East culture.
Leonardo DiCaprio lives up to his persona as a versatile and avid actor in this film. He appears physically dilapidated throughout the entire movie. At one point a surgeon extracts tiny bone fragments from his skin; “Not yours,” the doctor exclaims. This happens right after Farris is involved in a blast that took his friend’s life. Leonardo also shows his aptitude through his character’s ability to speak fluent Arabic.
Russell Crowe deserves praise for his performance as well. He plays Ed Hoffman, Farris’s CIA supervisor in Washington D.C. The daring Crowe gained 50 pounds for the role in an effort to portray the languid and power hungry political figures that remain at home during times of war. Throughout the entire film Hoffman is shown giving orders to Farris via an ear piece attached to a cell phone. He is usually multitasking when talking to Farris. In one scene he is eating and watching his daughter’s soccer game while advising Farris on how to catch a terrorist. The clash between Hoffman and Farris grabbed the attention of the audience due to the fear of its legitimacy.
Russell Crowe’s character sums up the premise of the film in two words, “nobody’s innocent.” Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies is a piece of work that shows the truth. Nobody is innocent in this War on Terror and international trust is precarious. You should definitely go see this movie. Not only is it a thrilling story, but it really hits home due to the relevancy of the War on Terror in our lives.