Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer
What is the significance of Iraq in the Bible? Answer
What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
Golshifteh Farahani, Carice van Houten, Simon McBurney, Vince Colosimo, Michael Gaston, Alon Abutbul, Lubna Azabal, Zef Balbona, Omar Berdouni, Larry Carter, Bijan Daneshmand, Michael James Faradie, Janan Ferdosi, Nick Fletcher, Vedant Gokhale, Matt Gulbranson, Shredi Jabarin, Ali Khalil, Clara Khoury, Jamil Khoury, Allen Lidkey, Quentin Mare, Travis McHenry, Dino A. Muminovic, Mehdi Nebbou, Alexander Rajic, Jennifer Rouse, Sami Samir, Vasanth Santosham, Ali Suliman, Alexander von Roon, Terry Ward, Ben Youcef
“American Gangster,” “Black Hawk Down”
|Producer:||De Line Pictures, Scott Free Productions, Zakaria Alaoui, Michael Costigan, Donald De Line, Charles J.D. Schlissel, Ridley Scott|
|Distributor:||Warner Bros. Pictures|
“Trust no one. Deceive everyone.”
based on Washington Post columnist David Ignatius’ 2007 novel
Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an undercover CIA agent who is stationed throughout the Middle East in attempt to track down an Osama bin Laden-like terrorist. Giving him ruthless commands is his superior Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe). Ferris is dedicated to his job and tries to follow the orders of Hoffman. However, Hoffman has no qualms in not telling Ferris about his sideline missions that often put Ferris in direct danger in order to find the terrorist.
As the film progresses along, Ferris is beaten, attacked by rabid dogs, and threatened. All the while, Hoffman keeps stationing Ferris throughout the Middle East. As Ferris tries to win the trust of Jordanian leader, Hani, Hoffman does not have the patience and nearly jeopardizes Ferris’ life, all to find the leading terrorist and his followers.
There is not much to the film. Its agenda and motives are not entirely made clear, since the movie was edited to become an almost nonstop action flick. The audience is dragged through countless places and expected to keep up with all of the different names and locations. The only commendable thing about the film is the performance of DiCaprio and Crowe. They bring a convincing conviction to the film that save it from flat-lining. While this helps the film somewhat, a better storyline would have helped more. I found it almost impossible to connect with the characters and their struggles, since the journey is not with the characters but the geographical movements throughout the plot. The movie’s main agenda is not to show character development or growth, it is perhaps to show how hypocritical the U.S. government is in its counterterrorism missions.
While Hoffman and Ferris are perfectly able to communicate through cell phones and head devices, it is made known that Hoffman is a selfish superior. Living a comfortable suburban life in Virginia, he often directs orders halfway around the world to Ferris. The aftereffects of those orders are of no consequence to him, since he is not there to witness the travesties firsthand. This is perhaps a frequent frustration for militant soldiers stationed overseas. These dedicated officers live with the danger firsthand and have to follow orders from people who do not live and see what they endure on a daily basis.
Surprisingly, the movie has no sexual content. Near the middle of the film, Roger does express interest in an Iranian nurse. While this romance was underdeveloped and used only as a plot device, it was refreshing to see that they never kissed or even touched.
The ‘R’ rating is due to the frequent profanity and graphic violence. In all, I counted about 50 uses of profanity. The ‘f’ word was said about 20 times, and the Lord’s name in vain about 10 times. Although I do hesitate to stand certainly by these numbers, since I do not doubt there were more. These profanities would be streamed out in the intense scenes.
As for the violence, this is a counterterrorist movie. The audience is not spared much. Explosions and gunfire are common throughout the long film. In many scenes, terrorists are shown being shot and exploding themselves. After an explosion, Ferris is shown picking bone fragments from his skin. A doctor callously tells him, “Don’t worry, they are not yours.” In the beginning of the film, a male captive is shown being hit by a wooden stick. One man is shown being whipped severely as a form of punishment. When Ferris is captured, two of his fingers are slammed with a hammer. This is the most graphic violent scene in the entire movie; his almost-severed fingers are zoomed in on as he screams in pain. He is then beaten and has his head slammed against a desk.
While Ferris goes through agonizing tortures, explosions, and attacks, he seemingly rebounds without any problems. His main struggles come with his ability to trust. Hoffman makes it almost impossible for Ferris to completely trust him. On more than one occasion, Hoffman has different objectives that jeopardize Ferris’ own missions and even his life.
Man can be quite selfish at times. Ferris proved himself to be no saint when he sets up an innocent Muslim man as part of a fictitious terrorist organization. He goes through great lengths to set up this man and his deception becomes even bigger, costing the Muslim man his life. People often attack the government for every wrong doing, but there are hypocrites in all areas of life. Some even try to deceive. God did issue a warning to those who plan horrible things in secret:
“Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” Isaiah 29:15.
While horrible and dangerous deceptions take place in the dark, I am glad that the awesome God of the Bible is full of light and not one hint of darkness is found in him. In 1 John, John wrote, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”
Dicaprio and Crowe’s superb acting abilities are what carry the film throughout the underdeveloped characters and storyline. However, I still do not recommend the film. The War in Iraq is devastating, just as any other war would be. I do not doubt that “Body of Lies” is only a mere hint as to the violence and suffering in the Middle East. However, Christians should not subject themselves to grotesque violence on the big screen as a form of entertainment. Instead, we should pray for the safe return of our soldiers, and those Iraqi civilians who desperately need Jesus as their Savior.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.