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Followers of Grimescene would have realized a dip in the frequency of Movie Reviews. One reason could be that I have better stuff to write about… or that I have stopped watching movies… or there is nothing exciting enough to review. Well…it is the last one. But all that has changed now. Thanks to Ridley Scott’s brand new indictment of the war on terror…an intricate web of lies, smoke and mirrors – with wry and dark humor thrown in for good measure. The last flick of his which I had watched – A Good Year – was a departure from his usual action/drama oriented style, being a light hearted romantic comedy. It was pretty good, with Russell Crowe lighting up the screen with his offbeat charm…but that is not what Ridley Scott does best. Body of Lies sums up what he does best. Complex characters, breathless space, superb action and a delicately choreographed storyline with an ending that is not so predictable and very human.

As the name suggests “Body of Lies” is about the untruthful games played by the various parties engaged in the war on terror. Crossing, Double-crossing and Triple-crossing…all in a days work. The movie follows the life of a CIA operative Roger Ferris (DiCaprio – competent as usual) with a conscience and a human heart, as he deals with various terror groups in the Middle East. His boss is an ex-field-operative, now shrewd and ruthless wheeler-dealer in Washington, Ed Hoffman – played by a spiteful Russell Crowe. (It is amazing how the guy reinvents himself for each role.) Ferris and Hoffman share a love-hate relationship – where the former often finds himself at odds with the capricious games, underhanded politically motivated dealings and sheer lies perpetrated by Crowe. To catch an increasingly active but elusive terrorist Al-Saleem – Ferris, Hoffman along with the suave and polished head of Jordanian Intelligence, Hani Pasha  (played by the superb Mark Strong) – launch an operation replete with lies and deceit. Hoffman pursues his “take-no-prisoners” high-handed agenda from Washington, while Ferris fights an increasingly deceptive enemy on the ground – and finds himself lying to his one true ally in the region – Hani. The movie also avoids a common pitfall with such ventures – one that of a “Moral of the Story”. Not every story needs a moral…

The crux of the movie lies in the realistic and accurate potrayal of the situation in the middle-east – without going into jingoism or long partriotic speeches. The point of the matter is that everyone down there is a bastard. No matter which side they are on. Also it shows that the Americans with all their political and technological muscle are not as much in control as they like to show…and that in field the rules of engagement are different. They are dirty, grimy and very human. To introduce a bit of light-heartedness in an otherwise heavy subject – Scott deftly touches upon a budding romance between Ferris and a local Jordanian nurse… which provides a smile here and there. The “Meet-the-sister” scene is brilliant (with probably the only righteous speech in the movie) and it is clear that DiCaprio still rocks when it comes to wooing women… though it can be said that he even rocks while shooting at evil Arabs. Overall – definitely worth a see, the movie will stay with you for a long time after it is over.  Watch it when it hits Indian theaters next weekend. 4 out of 5 stars.

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