New on DVD: Body of Lies

Terrorism is one of the most contemporary subjects of focus and Ridley Scott does high-stake conflict so well.

The CIA is on a manhunt for the mastermind of a series of terrorist attacks in major European cities. Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the agency’s man on the ground, going from place to place to make contact and head investigations. He doesn’t make a move that isn’t captured by a real-time satellite link, which is monitored by the CIA’s Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe). But Hoffman is making strategic decisions from thousands of miles away and they are rarely the right ones. In addition to botching a couple of major operations, he makes Ferris’ job very difficult.

Scott presents a forcible narrative that is dangerous and reasonably complex. The audience is brought along with Ferris through every, somewhat abbreviated, step of his operations, which sometimes leads to repetitive moments. The scope of the undertakings is fascinating, as are their means for implementing them.

The realism of the film is established through a combination of circumstances and acting talent. DiCaprio and Crowe are stellar in their roles, both being known for immersing themselves in their characters. Crowe wholly portrays the impatient, disrespectful Hoffman; and DiCaprio absolutely embodies the sharp, chameleon-like Ferris. The supporting cast is also very credible and contributes a lot to the film’s success.

The sets are very believable despite the fact that none of the scenes were shot on location. The chases and shootouts are not overly stylized, nor is there a feeling the actions are being forced; rather everything appears to occur logically.

The DVD has three 8-minute featurettes: “Master of the Craft: Ridley Scott” is composed of interviews with the cast and crew about what it’s like to work with the director; “Safe Haven: Morocco” describes the crews comfort with the area, having worked there with Scott several times; and “Author Provocateur: David Ignatius” discusses the story’s origin, as it was adapted from his novel. The feature commentary with Scott, Ignatius, and screenwriter William Monahan is quite interesting as they describe not only the shoot, but also the factuality of the narrative’s design. The second disc in the two-disc edition contains the digital copy of the picture.

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