Body of Lies
Based on veteran journalist and Washington Post columnist David Ignatius' 2007 novel about a CIA operative working in the Middle East, Body of Lies bounces with Bourne-like aplomb from Iraq to Jordan to England to Dubai as agent Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) pursues a slippery terrorist leader. Lethal but earnest, Ferris is connected by satellites and surveillance to his guardian dark angel, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), a gone-to-pot CIA manipulator who makes life and death decisions via cell phone during his kid's soccer game. Despite its timely political sheen, Scott's movie is little more than a solid B-thriller. Complicated but tightly drawn, it does a good job of illustrating the paradoxes of asymmetrical warfare and the disconnection between those who call the shots and the fighters on the ground. While it brings with it the requisite humorless air of seriousness, Lies boils down to a heavily armed version of Syriana meets Dilbert, as boss Hoffman repeatedly screws up Ferris' plans because he's an impatient, arrogant twit. Esteemed director Ridley Scott is an undeniable stylist and consummate craftsman, but his movies are neither politically nor thematically ambitious, and here he delivers a slick, mostly entertaining product with A-list actors and little subtext.