Body of Lies 2008

Critics score:
54 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Ben Mankiewicz, At the Movies: A complicated movie about the war on terror with two terrific performances and a terrific director. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: Each character thinks that what he's doing is the right course for the greater good. But when you break down Body of Lies to its most fundamental elements, it's really about disagreeing with your boss. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: DiCaprio's solid, though I wonder if a real CIA agent could get away with looking so earnest every second. Crowe has the right idea, in addition to all the fun: Just throw it away, throw it away and pretty soon you build yourself a clever characterization Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: Body of Lies clicks along at an engaging pace, legibly limning its multitude of characters and even throwing in a good bit of wry humor. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: The movie isn't witty or memorable, but it keeps you on edge, and it's the first war-on-terror film to weave its anti-U.S. politics so deeply into the narrative that the characters don't need to speechify. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: This is a little too slick and commanding for its own good; despite Crowe and DiCaprio's best efforts, their characters keep getting flattened by the steamroller narrative. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: It's a study in semisimilitude, more Google-Earthly than grounded in feelings. Read more

Keith Phipps, AV Club: It's solid filmmaking that, bafflingly, leaves little to talk about on the way home. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: It's no surprise that Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe are so good in Body of Lies, Ridley Scott's thrilling film about the war on terror, its costs and its frustrations. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: The movie is an urgent current-events thriller that falls somewhere between Syriana and the Bourne movies. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: As the film's episodic story gradually reveals itself, it ends up too unconvincing and conventional to consistently hold our attention. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: On this basic premise builds a complicated story plied with onion layers of perspective and cunning. Read more

Tom Charity, Yes, there are a couple of chase scenes, but Scott rarely shifts into high gear. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: A high-priced potboiler that never comes to a boil. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Body of Lies is an A-list project with B-game results. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Russell Crowe's portrayal of an overweight, amoral CIA honcho in the Middle East thriller Body of Lies is mesmerizing, chilling, disturbing to the bone and one of the best performances of the year. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Working from a screenplay by William Monahan, Scott takes rusty '80s cliches from the days when we were playing nuclear chicken with Russia and retrofits them to the post-9/11 world. He exposes how weary those old spy tropes really are. Read more

Jonathan F. Richards, Good solid far-fetched multiplex action-adventure fare in the Bondian mode, with awe-inspiring technology and just enough moral philosophizing laced through it to give the mind a little something to chew on. Read more

Laremy Legel, Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: What begins as a movie suggesting the moral complexity of counterterrorism ends up feeling very much like a thriller as generic as its title. Read more

Tom Maurstad, Dallas Morning News: As a movie seeking to tell a story, Body of Lies is a confused jumble. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: Its generic attributes (and title) notwithstanding,Scott's film may be the sharpest and most perceptive of all the post-9/11 thrillers -- and also the most purely entertaining. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Body of Lies has its share of exciting moments -- Scott remains a master at directing physical action -- and it certainly couldn't be more timely. But it's also a safe and predictable movie about a subject that is neither. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: A passable Friday night flick. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: Smart and tightly drawn; it has a throat-gripping urgency and some serious insights, and Scott has a greater command of space and a more explicit way with violence than most thriller directors. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: It's a little bit of Syriana, a lot of Traitor -- and an awful lot of scenes of people cursing into cell phones. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Art may be imitating life, but it sure makes for dull movies. Body of Lies is the latest example of what a crutch this has become -- show grainy satellite images, cut to a chase in a crowded bazaar, discuss 'intel'. Repeat. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Body of Lies is being hailed in some quarters as a 'new' kind of war thriller. While this glitzy production may attract audiences suffering from battle fatigue, it's nothing of the sort. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Body of Lies is yet another in a long, tiresome line of loud, violent, nauseating and incoherent riffs on how mercenary and inhuman the spooks in the C.I.A. are, even to each other. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Body of Lies is a riddle wrapped in an enigma served with a side of mystery meat. It's very watchable, with some entertaining action beats, kind of a Syriania as scripted by Tom Clancy, a The Kingdom with a little less C.S.I. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: Body of Lies is most alive while relishing the surveillance and communications tools abused by Hoffman, tools that supply him military intelligence, but not the smarts or scruples to effectively use it. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: For those who care about there being more to a thriller than pointless car chases and over-edited fight sequences, Body of Lies offers a satisfying dose of truth. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Body of Lies contains enough you can believe, or almost believe, that you wish so much of it weren't sensationally implausible. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Body of Lies is excessively intricate and extremely dull, the latest example of a filmmaker giving us a disjointed, overlong movie that's unnecessarily confusing to follow. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: This makes for a movie experience in which the viewer sits patiently for about 45 minutes waiting for the story to kick in, only to realize, oh. So this is it. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: I'm still waiting for the war-on-terror thriller that has more on its mind than the threat al-Qaida poses to movie stars. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Unfortunately, we've seen variations on this story a dozen times. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Body of Lies has nothing to say about geopolitics, the action scenes are formulaic, and DiCaprio is rarely on the screen with Crowe, who coasts through the most puzzling performance of his career. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Body of Lies is more than anything a missed opportunity -- or perhaps, given its cellular phoniness, a series of missed connections. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: Read more

Trevor Johnston, Time Out: Perhaps Scott's ever-restless shooting style doesn't quite differentiate between the peaks and troughs of the narrative, yet it's still an engrossing account of the intersection between process and ethics. Read more

Christopher Orr, The New Republic: Its chief bid at seriousness, a confrontational colloquy with the top terrorist near the end of the film, comes across as the awkward regurgitation of a hastily swallowed subscription to The Economist. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: The plot occasionally becomes convoluted and murky, but when it trains its focus on matters of treachery and intrigue, Body of Lies is exciting and compelling. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: Neither the location-based verisimilitude of Ridley Scott's shooting style nor the estimable Middle East expertise of source-material author David Ignatius can disguise Body of Lies as anything other than the contrived phony-baloney it is. Read more