(The) War! (On Terror) Huh! What is it good for? Not inspiring good movies, thats for damn sure. From old school film makers like Robert Redford (Lions for Lambs) and Brian DePalma (Redacted) to up 'n' comers like Gavin Hood (Rendition) and Kimberley Pierce (Stop-Loss) nobody has managed to really get to grips with the nice big mess of beardy guys blowing up buses and the subsequent shelling the shit out of their countires by us (or vice versa depending on your newspaper of choice). Now we can add Ridley Scott to that ever expanding list of directors who have tried (and failed) to say anything of worth.
Body Of Lies tells the investigative side of the story in the struggle for freedom and democracy throughout the land TM. Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the guy on the ground running around hot, sandy countries, sporting silly beards trying to gain access and gather information to take down a big cheese in the Osama Army. Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) is the suit, the guy in the office. He's running the game from a Madonna style headset nonchalantly shrugging if one of his characters takes a bomb to the face. After all, he can always upload another.
Actually that write up of the plot makes the film sound quite compliacted and interesting. And I guess that was what Sir Scott was going for. The problem being he had to add a story to the idea of the clean handed guy in charge versus the poor schmuck in the field who picks bits of his dead friends bone from his arm. The story that he chose is not just dull, but ultimately pointless. So what if we remove the head of one bad guy, another will take his place. This isn't the film makers fault though. Its the War On Terrors fault. Silly War On Terror.
With WWI and WWII there was a real sense of good guy/bad guy but still enough wiggle room to find complexity. Vietnam, while a mess, gave us great movies about what a mess it was. There is definitely the possibility for some Dr.Strangelove style silliness to be had on our generations conflict but this "War" (Yeah I used bunny ears, how subversive am I?) will never, ever stop unless the following conversation is read by all.
Man In Power #1 "Y'know this War on Terror thing.
Man In Power #2 "Yeah"
Man In Power #1 "When's it gonna end?"
Man In Power #2 "When everyone gets on."
Man In Power #1 "Oh."