INSA: Body of Lies Tells None

by Nicholas Robinson

Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a CIA operative in the Middle East; Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) is his control at Langley. Cynicism is everywhere. In Amman, Roger works with Hani Salaam (Mark Strong), Jordan’s head of security, whose only dictum is “Don’t lie to me.” The Americans are in pursuit of a cleric who leads a group placing bombs all over Europe. When Hani rebukes Ed’s demand that Jordan allow the Americans to use one of Jordan’s double agents, Roger and Ed hatch a plan to bring the cleric to them. The plan is complicated by its being a secret from Hani and by Roger’s attraction to a local nurse (Golshifteh Farahani). Satellites and cell phones, bodies and lies: modern warfare. – IMDB.com


I went into this movie with quite low expectations as although the trailer made me want to watch the movie, it also made me not want to watch it as it is quite bad.  However, this was quite good (although the low expectations might have helped a bit).  I think that the story was pretty straightforward and average, even though it was completely different from what the trailer suggests (which looked better by the way), the acting was really good though and the direction was above average.

As I said before, the story is pretty straightforward.  If the movie was a road, it would be a highway, straight and long, with no twists or turns and that is a bad thing.  It’s not even a straightforward story that tries to hide it through dialogue and direction; it just is.  This is a story that can be found in almost every CIA movie, with details changed of course. This is quite a surprise coming from William Monahan, the same person who wrote The Departed as that story was brilliantly done.  There is nothing more that I can really say about the story, which says something, as I usually have something to say.

The acting is what saved this movie.  Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio gave wonderful performances in this movie.  They had their characters down to a ‘T’.  You have Roger Ferris, who is a field agent that wants to end the war and save people but is constantly impeded by Ed Hoffman, a lazy, greedy head of department that always does what’s best for himself and not for the mission, both of whom are played quite well by Crowe and Dicaprio.  Crowe, throughout the movie, just has a mannerism about him that shouts “Hey!  I only care about myself and if other people are in the way of what I want, then ‘insa’” and that’s exactly what he’s supposed to be.  DiCaprio portrays his character in a way that makes you think of a regular honest working man who keeps getting fucked over by the government for things like taxes which impedes his earning ability and then gets fucked over some more for something else.

Mark Strong was also very good in his role as Hani Salaam.  His accent was very well done.  If I didn’t look at the movie, I would be unable to tell that it was Mark Strong, which I think is the measure of whether the accent is good or not.  I think that he took a bit from his role as Archy in RocknRolla (just the serious bit, not the laid back bit) as he kind of reminds me of him, and I liked that.

The direction was just above average, and the only reason for that is the shots that were as if you were the satellite looking down at Earth, even though that was also pretty generic.  The entire movie was viewed from a pretty generic standpoint via direction and once again, nothing really to say on that issue.

Overall, this movie is very average and is a rent at most.

IMDB says 7.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes says 51%

I say 6.5/10

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~ by sputnikreviews on December 29, 2009.

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