Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Body of Lies

Another winner by Ridley Scott. But this movie does not have the dramatic ending that his award winning movie Black Hawk Down did. Leonardo DiCaprio chooses another winner, but it is not The Departed in having such a complete cast or wonderful ending.

The powerful contrast offered by Ridley Scott comes down to patience. It is why us Americans are not having the success in gathering intel from our enemies as we would like or expect. The Chinese are the ultimate with this weapon: time. The Chinese have child agents that will be raised in America, attend our universities, and then work for our major companies and pass on trade or company secrets to their long time secret Chinese handlers. This movie shows the patience of Jordanian intelligence, using human intelligence and not relying on the fancy gadgets that Americans are now using. Both should be utilized.

Was this movie a slap in the face of the CIA or our methods in this struggle against jihad? That is up to the viewer, or the intelligent viewers that can detect this cinematic subtlety. I do not think it is, Russel Crowe, at the end, informs DiCaprio's character, "no one really likes the middle east." How about Dubai or Abu Dhabi, two of the most stunning and new cities on the face of this planet? Compared to some of the crumbing parts of America and violent gangs spread across the USA. I do not think someone needs to like the middle east to fight violent Islam effectively. But ofcourse they need to understand the enemy and have arab looking and speaking allies. This movie displays the shortage we have in that area. Crowe's character at the end took Dicaprio's character for granted, just assuming he would hop on for another ride, wrong move and attitude. Too unsympathetic to build loyalty.

Back to The Departed comparison, being undercover in Boston and infiltrating the Irish Mafia is just as dangerous as being an under cover CIA agent in Jordan and spying on terrorists.

Russell Crowe's lines are outstanding, especially in the beginning to some Washington beauracrats.

Al Saline is a fictional terrorist who is supposed to be Osama Bin Ladin. The CIA plays a trick on him by using a plan concocted by DiCaprio's character Roger Ferris. Ferris blows up a US military barracks in Incirik Turkey. The bodies used are fake, it is fabricated. The idea is to make Al Saline jealous to flush him out after a safe house is destroyed in Jordan. Most of the movie takes place in Jordan but the US is shown periodically and other parts if the middle east are shown like Dubai for instance. The plan is intriguing but the ending of this movie is disappointing.

Why does Ferris fall for a girl in his line of work in that part of the world? Ridiculous. Then she is kidnappned which I did not think would happen since I would think Ridley Scott would not copy so many other movies. For instance, Lethal Weapon II and various other action packed movies have already ran this idea into the ground.

Ferris is tortured at the end or punished. Which is one good idea in this movie. The difference between punishment and torture was explained in vivid detail in this movie. I liked that, the left may not. It may not be OK to torture someone, but punishing someone is acceptable.

The first half of this movie had the best action, the ending of this movie which I already harped on is weak. Ferris grows weary of the CIA's intentions and plans. He seems the war on terror is futile. They knew Ferris was going to be taken away, why they did not put a GPS tracker on him is beyond me. They had the Global Hawk spy plane or other spy flying machines througout this movie. They displayed the knowledge of high tech devices, put a GPS tracker on him.

The Jordan intelligence cheif at the end of the movie grabs his man, arrests the top ranked terrorist-Al Saline-without incident. He seems to be a fair guy until he is revealed at the end as the man who kidnaps Ferris's girl and tortures him-or punishes? Neither is pleasant for the one submitted to this treatment. But, it is not suppose to be and with all the villians on this planet attacking us solid citizens, it is good some feel physical retribution. Not so much in the US though. I never did trust the Jordanian intelligence chief, but Crowe's character is never that trust worthy either.

This movie was better written than Eagle Eye which makes it slightly better. Neither are great, neither are The Kingdom or DeJaVu, not even close to the latter. I would say Shooter beats both these recent, 2008, Hollywood attractions.

Atleast Hollywood knows or presents radical Islam in their true light. Unlike movies like Die Hard 4 who decided to revert back to the techno white guy as the chief antagonist.

Crowe was clearly better in Master and Commander and LA Confidential. Crowe was laid back in this movie, playing the pencil pusher who is unwilling to give up. He is the quintessential patriotic CIA man. This movie does illustrate we do not have enough Arab speaking or Arab personnel working for us, gathering intelligence in the middle east. Which is what is making this war on terror so frightening and uncertain. Crowe's character exemplifies that hard headeness and inability to listen and accept another method. American's do not have allot of patience, neither do I, but perhaps there should be some CIA agents that understand that some problems require long term solutions.

This movie is allotted four stars. ****

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