Body of Lies is a fast-paced thriller set in the Middle East where calculating spies, East and West, play a dangerous game as human life is expendable providing one believes in the supposed ‘greater good’ so essential to the idea of the Just War.
This is an action story about conflict, military intelligences, fleeting allegiances and betrayal. Imagine the TV show Alias with fewer pretty ladies, pumped up graphics and on location shooting in Morocco, Dubai and the USA.
Regardless of how accurate Warner Bros.’ version of espionage may or may not be, the film raises some important moral questions. Is it okay to frame an innocent man as a terrorist in order to apprehend a ruthless kingpin? Is there a difference between torture and punishment? Should spies have relationships with civilians?
The film deals with the disturbing and difficult aspects of war in an honest and intelligent manner. No pat answers are given. Rather, moral ambiguities seem to be the order of the day. Until, that is, the end where the rising star operative Roger Ferris (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) makes a definitive choice, one which ironically comes off a bit thin and seems to be the most unrealistic aspect of the entire film.
This movie might not be a cinematic masterpiece but neither is it Hollywood trash. And that’s no lie.