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Body of Lies 
(2008)

Possibly (Sir)Ridley Scott's nadir, a film that is all the more insulting by attempting to fool you into thinking there’s some semblance of intelligence beneath the glossy surface.  In fact, it’s as banal and ridiculous as your most excessive Hollywood fantasy action movie. 

DiCaprio's latest in a run of failed attempts to pass as an action star has this on the rocks from scene one; he doesn't look tough, he's grown a ridiculous beard and he seems to be injecting a Tom Cruise swagger into his performance. He's a decent actor, but he needs to recognise what suits him. Preppy wimp types don't convince as tough soldiers, no matter how much swearing, spitting and bleeding they do. 

Of course, he is obliged to embark on a ridiculous romantic subplot with an Iranian woman (bedause he’s not a racist rotter) and then experience torture (poor Leo gets his digits hammered, but it shows that he's really putting his all into his performance!). 

Crowe sits plumply in the background as Leo's handler, and he's clearly a nasty piece of work because he does the opposite of anything Leo asks of him. Mark Strong emerges with some dignity intact, but he's saddled with a thankless "educated Arab" role. There's the occasional flicker of Ridley being seized by a spark of enthusiasm (the satellite observation, although its second hand from brother Tony's Enemy of the State) but mostly he's pulling the same tired tricks, a director without a clue as to what makes a decent script.

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