I thought Body of Lies was pretty silly. I reckon pretty much everything was wrong with this film except possibly for the bits with shooting. I love Leonardo DiCaprio, and I can cope with Russell Crowe (despite his terrible American accent), but this film was pretty bad. I thought it might be a bit of a smart film. I figured there'd be some actual lies in it. I did forget that Ridley Scott was directing it. He is totally winner, but only when he's getting people shot or alien-eviscerated. I don't think politics is his strong point.
Normally I don't hold this kind of film up to very exacting standards. The Kingdom is a very similar sort of film, which I enjoyed much, much more. The Kingdom wasn't any less silly perhaps, but neither did it take itself so seriously. Body of Lies was all about grit (Hollywood trademark grit), but it couldn't follow through with plot or characters of any substance.
Russell Crowe's character was unimaginably incompetent. I could have coped with a smart person failing so consistently because they were doing a stupid job. I think that's largely true. But watching a profounding stupid CIA strawman fall over again and again got kind of dumb. Americans are arrogant sure, but not that arrogant. The professionalism of its spies will probably lead to a noble hatred of the Middle East, but Russell Crowe's redneck oblivion and small-town disdain was totally over the top.
There were other annoying things. Why was a 30-something year-old fellow running the CIA office in Amman? Why was the head of that office pursuing some poor, random lass he meets in a clinic? Why did this apparently clever fellow not even consider the possibility that the poor, random lass would be used to threaten him? Why did Leonardo try to betray the poor Karimi fellow, when no good could come of it either way? Why was giving money to the poor Karimi fellow's mother to manipulate him thought so amazingly clever, when surely all his friends would notice and assume he'd been bought? There was this whole "THIS is the way it's done here" atmosphere, so it wasn't a new tactic. And the whole Leonardo character was stupid as well. He was a total and utter arsehole, but then they had touching romantic moments with his poor squeeze and her little brothers. That isn't to say nasty sorts aren't capable of moments of romance, but it felt like the film itself wanted him to be some sort of hero. And he so wasn't.