Review – Body of Lies (2008)

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body-of-lies-521e3e91c3c5dWelcome to Day 2 of DiCaprio week, today we’re reviewing Body of Lies. Now, before this week, I can’t say I’ve ever heard of this film. The poster looked somewhat familiar, but that’s all I can say. This all comes as a shock for at least three reasons – 1. It’s DiCaprio, and normally, his movies stick out. 2. It’s Russell Crowe, and his movies also stick out, and finally, 3, It’s freaking Ridley Scott, man! Again, his movies stick out. So the question going through my head is how did I ever look past a DiCaprio/Crowe/Scott movie? Is that even remotely possible? So while this week was about watching DiCaprio’s main films that I’ve never seen, I couldn’t resist watching this movie, but I was indeed worried about how unmentioned I’ve heard this film.

This film is about a CIA case worker that is looking for a dangerous terrorist that’s managed to keep himself well-hidden. So, he needs to piece together the fragments of intel he manages to get to slowly help him find the terrorist. Though, he can’t do it on his own. He needs the help of the secret service in the middle east…though, they aren’t fully trustworthy either. Meanwhile, he falls in love with a nurse.

The first thing I will tell you about this movie is that it’s not good. It’s not necessarily horrible, either, but it is a pretty big disappointment given who is in it. Even if anyone else was in these roles, the movie itself was massively mediocre…so literally no one could actually save it, no matter how famous or not they all are. It’s a war movie about catching a terrorist. Tell me, what’s so special about that?

At it’s most basic level, Body of Lies is a disappointment. When we analyze it and look deeper at everything the film had to offer, we start to realize why the score is what it is.

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PEOPLE SCORE – 7/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 1|Casting – 1|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 2

The category of people is probably the best-rated category of the bunch, so after this, it’s all downhill. That being said, even this category could’ve used some help. Primarily in the acting, characters, and casting…which is a pretty good chunk of the score, I know. The acting was mediocre as there wasn’t a HUGE range of ability here. Even for you, Russell Crowe, you robot. Dang man, you keep the same bored monotone voice throughout the entire film. The characters aren’t very memorable or really have all that much depth. When it comes to the casting, I think this was the wrong choice for pretty much everyone involved. I like them, they did fine, but the script itself was just not special, I’m sorry. That being said, everyone played a different role and added to the plot pretty well, and I think everyone worked pretty decently together.

WRITING SCORE – 3/10
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 0|Story – 1|Originality – 0|Interesting – 1

Onto the writing score, which could’ve used some massive help. The dialogue itself was fine, but there wasn’t anything that really stood out. The story had an inkling of something good. Primarily preserving humanity when it’s easy not to, and because of everyone involved, I’d consider this mildly interesting as well, but everything else was just bad. This was over-convoluted. We didn’t need the love story, even though that romance was cute. We knew the only reason it was involved was because she had to get in danger at some point, which is what I consider weak storytelling. As for it’s originality? Not even a little bit, guys. You feel like you’ve seen this movie a ton of times.

BTS SCORE – 6/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 1

Onto what’s going on behind-the-scenes. The visuals were fine, given the setting, but once again, nothing stands out and it’s not special. The directing was horrible when it comes to Ridley Scott’s work…but I guess it was typical for anyone else. Likewise with the editing, just typical stuff here. I would consider this an as-advertised film, so that gets full points. The music, on the other hand, was bland and typical for this type of action movie.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 6/10
Introduction – 1|Inciting Incident – 0|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 1

Even one of the easiest categories to score points failed in a few places. First of all, the introduction was fine. We understand that they are going after the terrorist, but we get absolutely nothing satisfactory about who these supposed “good guys” even are. I don’t consider the movie to even have any inciting incident because they are always after the terrorist, so this inciting incident technically happened off-screen. Trying to catch a thwarting terrorist makes for some perfect obstacles and even climax, but the falling action left the audience hanging when this isn’t really the type of movie to have a reason to do that.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 1/10
Rewatchability – 0|Fun – 0|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks Audience IN – 1

Now granted, this is the most difficult category to score high on, it usually doesn’t just get a 1. What I basically said here was that in certain intense parts of the film, it starts to suck the audience in, but it doesn’t really do that throughout the film. I don’t consider this a rewatchable movie, I don’t want to buy it or talk about it, and I really didn’t have all that much fun watching it in general. At the end, it felt like more of a job to review this movie than to enjoy it.

TOTAL SPECIAL – 25/50
DiCaprio – 5|Crowe – 0|Ridley Scott – 0|Action – 10|Halfway Decent – 10

Alright, onto the specialty questions that I wrote before watching the movie. First off, where does this sit on the DiCaprio films? Is it the best ever? Not even close, but I wouldn’t really consider it his worst either. He still did the best job he could with this script. What about Russell Crowe? First of all, you could hardly recognize him, second of all, his character was a boring and annoying robot. What about Ridley Scott? I didn’t sense his input in this film AT ALL. How is this Ridley Scott? It’s mediocre through and through. Finally is it halfway decent? Not really, but at the same time, they did what they wanted to do, and I don’t think anyone else could make that aspect any better. Take that as you will.

Rating – 48/100

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One thought on “Review – Body of Lies (2008)

  1. Thanks man I was considering watching this movie. Now after reading your review I think Im just going to pass it up. Because like you said if felt like a job doing this review. I feel the same way sometimes and it is not fun.

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