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Body of Lies - Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong, Golshifteh Farahani, Oscar Isaac, Ali Suliman, Alon Abutbul, Vince Colosimo, Simon McBurney, Mehdi Nebbou, Michael Gaston, Kais Nashif, Jamil Khoury, Lubna Azabal,Body of Lies: while hunting for a big fish terrorist, power and the upper hand continually shift between the Americans, Jordanian secret service and the man on the ground trying to bridge the cultural gap. It has the look and feel of an action thriller, but there’s not a whole lot of action (although when it’s on, it’s fairly violent). There’s a romance corner, an espionage corner, a cultural differences corner – it juggles quite a few things,  which are all are done reasonably well, and fused together nicely. The problem is that with all of these things going on, it feels less focused than something like Zero Dark Thirty – the peripheral stuff detracts from the central terrorist plot. Also, because the whole Jihad genre has had a lot of material lately, they all sort of blend in to one – it took took well over an hour to realise I’d already seen this. Acting wise, you completely buy in to Di Caprio‘s conflicted character; Crowe properly gets on your nerves as the brash and cocksure US agent; and you marvel at Strong’s portrayal of an old-school espionage master. Body of Lies looks and feels as slick as you’d expect from Ridley Scott; it’s also acted beyond what you’d expect from A-listers; unfortunately the plot feels completely borrowed and unimaginative. Despite looking a little worn and generic these days, it’s still completely serviceable modern jihad-thriller.

6.5/10

Paris Lockdown / Truands: an underworld crime film that half follows the ups and downs of two hitmen, as well as a myriad major and minor gang characters. It ticks all the boxes of a gangster type film; money, guns, cars, drugs, wimin’, feuds, violence and so forth. Despite this, the film never really gets going and because there are so many criminals and dealers in the story that you don’t get to know anyone well enough to want them to come out on top. The one thing I learn from this is that in Paris, money talks and nobody gives a shit about anything else! While it’s a good, watchable film, it’s definitely one for the boys – but if you’re wanting a proper continental ‘Goodfellas’ check out Romanzo Criminale instead.

Score: 6/10