by Pa Rock
Saturday evening at the movies - a nice conclusion to a beautiful Arizona day!
Body of Lies is a contemporary war thriller that chased terrorists, ours and theirs, in and out of several middle eastern countries. Leonardo DiCarpio starred as an on-the-ground CIA operative whose operations were continually screwed up by his stateside handler, Russel Crowe, a suburban Washington D.C. father of young children who telephoned in mayhem while standing on the sidelines of his daughter's soccer game.
DiCaprio, one of the finest actors of his generation, was amazing as he bounced around the sands of the Middle East like a scorpion on speed. He was tough, relentless, and very, very deadly. Yet, despite his necessary brutalities, he was able to deftly demonstrate that cooperation and a sense of culture could be employed much more effectively in the war on terrorism than any amount of testosterone-soaked American machismo.
Crowe, himself an especially talented actor, never managed to animate his character with much believability or passion. His performance was so mediocre that a second-year drama student would have probably fared better. For some reason the Aussie actor was either instructed or chose to put on a lot of weight for this film, although the reason for portraying his character as an overstuffed suburbanite was never made clear. Perhaps it was to show CIA bureaucrats, and Americans in general, as slovenly consumers of the world's wealth. Whatever the logic, Crowe's excess lard was as disconcerting as his lame acting.
This movie spoke to the need to view conflict from a human perspective. The clash of ideologies was seen as an ebb-and-flo phenomenon with the human pawns left to secure their own survival. The story clung to Leonardo DiCaprio as a garment of America's potential for redemption, and he wore it with grace and honor.