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Movie Review: Body of Lies

Alternate Title: Trust No One

Story: Ho hum. Have we gotten immune to the contemporary world of spies, double agents, explosions and the war on terror as it is depicted on the big screen? Body of Lies, the latest film by director Ridley Scott should have been an exciting cinematic experience. Alas, it seemed as if I had already seen this film. It was written by William Monahan, based on the novel by David Ignatius, a columnist at The Washington Post.

The story revolves around the quest to find the Islamic Fundamentalist mastermind behind a series of bombings in Europe that have killed countless numbers of civilians. The CIA relies on hi-tech gadgetry to surveil and destroy. The enemy has outsmarted the 'good guys' by relying on age old techniques of notes, whispers nd any method that allows them to stay off the grid.

The CIA agents are represented by a hands on agent and one that literally phones it in from Virginia. The story is, at times, difficult to follow and because everyone is suspect as far as true motives and ideals are concerned. Innocents die, log held ideologies are not changed and the fight between the Fundamentalists and the agents goes on and on.

The good news is that the photography is first rate by Alexander Witt. The acting is fine as is the direction. The problem is that it seems to be an old news story that fails to excite.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL1ixpiRCTU

Acting: Leonardo DiCaprio as the hands on CIA agent, Roger Ferris, is intense and committed but still manages to leave me cold. Russell Crowe as the Langley based CIA operative, Ed Hoffman, gained some 50 pounds for this role. I am not sure why he needed to gain all of that weight - maybe he just wanted to eat. His role reminded me of the role he had in the fabulous film, The Insider. Mark Strong as the Jordanian head of Intelligence was the most interesting guy on the screen. Golshifteh Farahani as Aisha, the 'love' interest was interesting but her role was too abbreviated.

Trivia: Director Ridley Scott is the brother of director Tony Scott. He is left-handed and personally sketches most of his own story boards with great artistic style. At five years old Leonardo DiCaprio appeared on his favorite TV show "Romper Room" (1953) and was nearly thrown off for misbehaving. Russell Crowe dropped out of high school.

Predilection: None

Critters: Scary dogs, a bird and a cat.

Food: Strawberries, chicken, cous cous, pastries and vegetables

Sex Spectrum: No time for sex.

Soundtrack: Loud

Opening Titles: Footage of one of the European bombings and then the film's titles. All other credits are at the end.

Theater Audience: Very crowded for a Tuesday afternoon. Mostly male.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Torture is squirmy.

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch often.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: A few minutes over two hours.