Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Body Of Lies

One of the most subtle--yet most important--statements made by Body Of Lies is about the use of technology in war. More specifically, how technology can be used every minute of the day to observe and manipulate the enemy from afar.

It's easier, after all, to carry out a mission that involves aggression, torture and killing if one can dehumanize the enemy. And what better way to dehumanize others than to monitor them on a TV or computer screen, where they become something similar to a video game.

Ridley Scott's CIA thriller compares old-school spy strategies with modern digital wizardry. Field agent Ferris (DiCaprio) needs human connections to carry out his job in the Middle East. His boss, Hoffman (Crowe), is as cold as the technology he uses to gather information. Hoffman is calculating and distrustful, and highly effective.

The most chilling scenes show Hoffman giving orders via cell phone to Ferris while Hoffman is at his son's soccer game, or at another child's birthday party.

Polar opposites, Ferris and Hoffman combined talents make for a successful team. They don't, however, make for a very successful movie. The pace is a bit slow and the plot slightly too complex.

Slow and complex is not a good combination.

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