Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Body of Lies

Year 9, Day 123 - 5/3/17 - Movie #2,618

BEFORE: Mark Strong carries over from "Tristan & Isolde", and kicks off a 3-film chain of spy films.  You might ask, "Why didn't I just put this one after "The Revenant" so that Leonardo DiCaprio could carry over?"  Well, it was off-topic and I preferred to put two Western films together and not jump back-and-forth between Westerns and spy films.  Similarly, I could go from this one to "The Nice Guys" with Russell Crowe, but ping-ponging between action films and comedies doesn't really appeal to me either.  (Even though tomorrow's film is a comedy, it's a comedy about spies, so that works better for me.)

THE PLOT: A CIA agent on the ground in Jordan hunts down a powerful terrorist leader while being caught between the unclear intentions of his American supervisors and Jordan Intelligence.

AFTER: I realize this anti-terrorism subject matter is not only relevant, it's (possibly) realistic.  I can't really confirm that, because I don't live in that world.  But it FEELS like it might be realistic, and maybe that's more important.  Does the CIA work this way?  I have no idea.  But it might.

That is, until the big plan to flush out the real terrorist leader by creating a fake one - because we all know that terrorist leaders are just as petty and competitive as teenage girls, right?  Hmm, somehow I don't think so.  I mean, MAYBE by creating a fake attack the CIA could create some chatter, and that COULD cause a terrorist to accidentally reveal his location, but wouldn't ANY situation create that?

Overall I found this very hard to follow, I wish the film could have stayed in one location and focused a bit more, instead we're in Iraq, then we're in Jordan, then we're in Amsterdam and the U.K.  And in the parts where Leo's not hopping around from country to country, there's quite a lot of him talking on the phone with his handler, a clear violation of the "show, don't tell" rule.

Plus, no lie, there's a character named Saleem and another named Salaam.  How am I supposed to keep track of that?  I don't mean to sound racist, I'm just saying that characters need to have distinct names, that's all.

Also starring Leonardo DiCaprio (last seen in "The Revenant"), Russell Crowe (last seen in "Winter's Tale"), Oscar Isaac (last seen in "X-Men: Apocalypse"), Vince Colosimo (last seen in "The Great Gatsby"), Simon McBurney (last seen in "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation"), Ali Suliman (last seen in "Lone Survivor"), Golshifteh Farahani (last seen in "Exodus: Gods and Kings"), Alon Abutbul (last seen in "London Has Fallen"), Mehdi Nebbou (last seen in "Munich"), Michael Gaston (last seen in "The Notorious Bettie Page"), Michael Stuhlbarg (last seen in "Doctor Strange"), Kais Nashif, Lubna Azaval, Jamil Khoury, Ali Khalil.

RATING: 4 out of 10 rabies shots

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