Corrected: Given Thursday morning’s thumbs-up capsule review from a friend of Ridley Scott‘s Body of Lies, this slam review by Variety‘s Todd McCarthy came as a bit of a shock.
“Neither the location-based verisimilitude of Ridley Scott‘s shooting style nor the estimable Middle East expertise of source-material author David Ignatius can disguise Body of Lies as anything other than the contrived phony-baloney it is. Coming on like an inside account of CIA operations against jihad-minded terrorists, pic shows its true colors by featuring a shootout, chase or big explosion every 10 minutes or so, on its way to a climax so conventional it would have been at home in a 1940s Warner Bros. melodrama.”
I read McCarthy’s review on my iPhone while getting gas on the way up to Santa Barbara. I literally said “whoa” out loud while reading the first graph.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt came in positive, although I wondered what he really meant when he wrote that the film “may not be as much fun as old spy movies starring Cary Grant” — North by Northwest? — “or more recent entertainments such as Spy Game, directed by Ridley’s brother Tony, but it feels all too accurate.” Or this statement: “To be sure, the film retains familiar genre elements…but how the action-thriller crowd will react to such a disturbing environment is a tough call.”