Body of Lies

by Gordon McDowell

Ridley Scott should stop making sequels, because he sucks at continuity. If the man were standing here in front of me, I'd put up my hand and say, “Ridley my man! Put 'er there! Gimmie 5 you most brilliant director of Alien, Blade Runner and American Gangster!”

He might look at me for a moment. Perhaps if he was eating dinner at a fancy restaurant he'd apologise to his guests for the interruption. But if he turned back to his food, repeated screaming of his name and frantic waving of my outstretched hand would bring his attention back to matters at hand.

“Slip me some skin Ridley! I loved the directors cut of Kingdom of Heaven! It was way better! Whoo hi-five!”

Eventually, as the upper crust of society always do, he'd come to understand the only way of completing his dinner would be to smack his hand against mine. Perhaps thank me for the compliment.

“Ridleeeeeee! Matchstick Men was brilliant!” (More frantic waving of the hand.)

So eventually Ridley would come over. He'd raise his hand, swing it towards mine, finally accepting my compliments and tribute to his greatness.

And it would be at that point, I'd alter the swing of my open palm, diverting it from his hand to his forehead. Smack.

As the security guards throw me out of the restaurant, as they often do, I'd shout defiantly: BODY OF LIES is THE WORST SEQUEL EVER.

Body of Evidence was an early entry into the torture porn genera, released hot on the heels of Basic Instinct. Rebecca Carlson [Madonna] is accused of using her naked body to torture and murder a wealthy lover. She then seduces and tortures Frank Dulaney, her defense lawyer (played by William Dafoe).

Of course Body of Evidence was created long before photos from Guantanamo Bay made the nightly news, and what was considered shocking and graphic then, seems quaint by todays torture porn standards.

Take, for example, the torture of Frank. Rebecca tears his shirt off and pours hot wax down his chest. She rapes him while grinding a broken light bulb into his back. And she also scratches his back with her fingernails. Ah, 1993 was a simpler time, one of indian burns and 20 chocolate bars jammed into various body cavities.

And now we finally have a sequel.

I'm not going to address the question of whether or not the original needed one. Hollywood finances render this moot. If there is money to be made from a sequel, then that sequel will be made. The best we can hope for is a good sequel.

And I find Body of Lies to be inferior. Allow me to point out Ridley's transgressions:

Leonardo DiCaprio is no Willem Dafoe

Just as Ridley swapped Silence of the Lambs Jodie Foster for Julianne Moore and hoped no one would notice, there is virtually no one left from the original cast to give the sequel any sense of continuity.


These is one female character in Body of Lies. She lives in Jordan so has her head wrapped in a Hijaab. Call me old fashioned, but to go from Madonna full frontal nudity to only exposed face… that's not progress.

Violent foreplay goes way too far

Early in Body of Lies, a naked man is strapped to a table and spanked repeatedly. He has been very naughty: we are informed “this is not torture, it is punishment”.

Later, in the pivotal scene where Al-Saleem (Alon Abutbul) and Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) consummate their relationship, I have to admit as a heterosexual male I felt extremely uncomfortable.

Roger is tied down for Al-Saleems' enjoyment. Roger spits into Al-Saleems face, Al-Saleems responds by smashing Roger's fingers with a hammer.

Roger howled in ecstasy. I fled the theatre.


From what I saw, would I recommend Body of Lies to anyone? Well, the spy thriller backstory is well written, and the big budget explosions were well beyond the usual torture porn effects. The acting was solid except that I never felt the sexual tension between Al-Saleems and Roger was very believable.

If you haven't seen Body of Evidence then you might be in a better position to enjoy it, as the lack of Madonna's vagina won't be such a disappointment.


  • Body of Lies
  • by Gordon McDowell
  • Published on October 10th, 2008
Body of Lies
Ridley Scott
Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong, Golshifteh Farahani..
October 10th, 2008
7 / 10

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