Thursday, April 12, 2007

Syriana II?

Come and get some, America!

Variety is reporting that Leonardo (DiCaprio, not Mutant Ninja Turtle) has signed on for a CIA political thriller set in the Middle East. And with a title like "Body of Lies" you can guess where it's headed.

Based on a soon-out novel by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who, last time I checked, was in no danger of being mistaken for a supporter of U.S. policy in the region.

Directing is Ridley Scott, last seen out that'a way trying to "right the wrongs of history" with Kingdom of Heaven, a film which, last time I checked, was in no danger of being mistaken for historically accurate.

From the booklist review, emphasis mine:

"Car bombs begin to explode in European cities, and it's only a matter of time until they reach the U.S. CIA agent Roger Ferris learns of the existence of "Suleiman," who may be responsible for the carnage. But finding Suleiman and penetrating his cell seem nearly impossible. Ferris, a rising young star in the CIA, is made station chief for Jordan, and he decides to employ a ruse used successfully by the British in World War II to deceive the Nazis. If it works, al Qaeda itself will eliminate Suleiman and deal a devastating blow to its own operations. Ferris wins over bluff, aggressive Ed Hoffman, chief of the CIA's Near East operations, and the elegant, wily, and dangerous Hani Salaam, Jordan's top spy. Meanwhile, Ferris' marriage to a Justice Department lawyer researching legal justifications for torture is failing, and he's falling in love with a woman whose passion is humanitarian aid to victims of Middle East chaos--all of which forces him to question his beliefs and worry about the unintended consequences of his actions. Body of Lies is thoroughly entertaining, but it's also a timely and plausible cautionary tale of schemes within schemes and morality compromised. It has vividly rendered locales, clever plotting, some compelling characters, and a discomforting verisimilitude."

Apparently the hero is also a former reporter, which explains the reference to "morality compromised."

Love the subplot about ditching his pro-torture wife in favor of a do-gooder anti-violence activist.

Dollars to donuts, too, those "schemes within schemes" lead to someone or someones holding a U.S. passport being the true villain at the end of it all.

My new movie will make this much!

The script will be penned by Oscar-winner William Monahan, who wrote the Islamo-fascist-ass-kissing Heaven for Scott -- nor do I now have much hope for Monahan's long-delayed Tripoli, sure to be heavy on the cooperation of American and Arab fighters bit as opposed to any real resonance such a story might have had for our times.

But what's with Ridley Scott these days? The man who gave us conservative faves Gladiator and Black Hawk Down has gone completely off the reservation at this point. Or maybe the fact that Black Hawk was a military defeat should have been the tip off. (Guess I was too busy enjoying the Clinton Administration taking one on the nose there.)

Just caught a few minutes of Kingdom of Heaven on TV yesterday, in fact. Watching the magnanimous Islamic conqueror right a fallen cross after taking the city nearly sent my fist through the TV involuntarily.

Or maybe I'm wrong and this will be fantastic. Ridley is still one of the best directors in the biz and one of my personal favorites, so I'd gladly be wrong in my assessment here. But as usual, I'm not.

No comments: