BODY OF LIES (2008)
Like so many other movies that we've discussed in the past, Ridley Scott's Body of Lies is not perfect. In many ways, it is quite unremarkable. However, in one crucial detail, it is one of the more memorable movies I've seen that deal with counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East. The story is about a field operative, Ferris, whose inability to trust his contacts or boss, Hoffman, keeps him from ever truly achieving any of the albeit minor victories he's working towards. After watching the film, somebody asked me, "So, Russell Crowe is the bad guy, right?" My initial instinct was to say no, but I started to think more about it. In a situation as horrible as that of the field agent, it is imperitive to be able to trust those giving you orders. Played by Crowe with a cynical smile, Hoffman proves over and over again to be completely untrustworthy. He gives commands, then will impatiently do something else, without telling his agent. This cuts the legs out from under our protagonist, and he must start over again. Hoffman's unreliability, mixed with his general callousness to the suffering of others- and his insufferable positivity- makes him more dangerous than those out to directly harm Ferris. It is this element that made this film stick out in my mind. Like Paths of Glory before it, Body of Lies illustrates the cluelessness of those that give the orders just as much as frustration of those that must carry them out.