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Film / Body of Lies

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Body of Lies is a 2008 American spy film directed by Ridley Scott.

Set in the Middle East, it follows the attempts of the CIA and the GIDnote  to catch Al-Saleem, a fictional jihadist terrorist behind many attacks against the US and Europe.

A CIA operative in the Middle East, Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio), his superior in Langley, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) and the head of Jordanian Intelligence, Hani Pasha (Mark Strong) are frustrated by Al-Saleem's elusiveness and launch several operations, together and separately, while trusting and lying to each other, until it all gets Ferris in serious trouble.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Armchair Military: Hoffman plays with this a bit, in that while he is incredibly good at manipulating people and being The Spymaster, many of his scenes have him talking to Ferris on the phone and watching information on his laptop while he is doing stuff like driving his children to school and drinking coffee at home. Ferris is quick to make this an important (and justified) part of his What the Hell, Hero? speech.
  • Badass Boast: Two Jordanian characters :
    • When Hoffman tries to threaten Hani to escalate their conflict between US president and Jordan king :
    Hani: In matters of intelligence, Edward, you are speaking to the king.
  • Blatant Lies / I Lied: Ferris tells a man that he is not being let out into the public to see who shoots him, even though that is exactly what the plan is and they both know it.
    • Also a large part of the film, as the title says, and as Hani clearly states : "Never lie to me!" ... while expecting the CIA to do exactly that. Hoffman also often plays with this, telling Ferris something will happen while they both know it never will.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: It takes a bit of work for Ferris to hook up with Aisha, to say the least.
  • Fingore: Ferris at the hands of Al-Saleem. He smashes two of Ferris' fingers with a hammer to a bloody pulp, and apparently, he loses them by the end of the movie.
  • I Know You Know I Know: The main plot of the movie is about who's lying to whom, and who knows who's lying to whom.
  • Kudzu Plot: You spend more than half the movie trying to figure out who's trying to set up who, while trying not to be outwitted by the other parties.
  • Middle Eastern Terrorists: Al-Saleem leads his own group that has members operating in North America and Europe.
    • The GID is mentioned to have a double agent on their payroll infiltrating a local Al-Qaeada cell.
  • Not My Driver: The iconic version reversed, as it is the Big Bad who gets tricked, not the Hero. You'd think Al-Saleem was going to get away with it, but Hani thought about everything.
  • The Plan: They all have one. Separate. But interconnected. Hani Pasha's is the best.
  • Post-9/11 Terrorism Movie
  • Rock Beats Laser: No matter how powerful your drones are, they can't see through a man-made cloud of dust.note 
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Hani looks as if he stepped right off the cover of a GQ magazine.
  • Smug Snake: Hoffman. It must be noted that half the things that don't work in the movie were due to his own arrogance in the first place.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Hani Pasha addressing Ferris as "My dear". Yes, when the head of Jordanian Intelligence addresses you this way while you are a US spy in Jordan, you can start to worry.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Hani is referred to as Hani Pasha by Ferris.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ferris calls out Hoffman several times on the fact that his interference with Ferris' own intelligence operations continually set them both back. This is aggravated because Hoffman normally runs things on the phone while safe and sound, with his family, whereas Ferris works on the ground in Jordan.