Body of Lies
Director Ridley Scott does a masterful job of telling this complicated story, but the script has too many divergent storylines that detract from what had the potential to be a great movie. DiCaprio plays a similar character as he did in Blood Diamond, while Russell Crowe is entirely convincing as the heartless strategist pulling the strings from Washington.
The VC-1 1080p encode boasts a clean print and a varying color palette depending on the locale. While in the Middle East, a brownish hue permeates the picture, but the scenes in Washington are very cool, leaning toward blue. Flesh tones are neutral, although they don't provide the detail of facial pores that I've seen from other Blu-ray encodes. Black levels are solid with excellent shadow detail, while detail in backgrounds is not razor-sharp, but it offers adequate definition.
As with all Warner Blu-ray discs, the movie begins to play when inserted into the player, so to activate the superior Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, a trip into the setup menu of the disc is required. Once active, the front-heavy track provides decent dynamics with ample panning effects. Dialog is crystal clear, even in the quieter passages, but the surround channels are underutilized for anything but the action scenes. Crowded marketplaces should have the surround channels bustling with activity, but they are silent instead.
The dual-layer disc contains a feature-length commentary by director Ridley Scott, screenwriter William Monahan, and original novel author David Ignatius. Other supplements get the HD treatment and include nine focus points available during the movie or separately, an interactive briefing with Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe, and Leonardo DiCaprio, and five deleted scenes. Additional features include BD-Live functionality (registration required) and a bonus digital copy of the movie for use on a PC or compatible portable player.
Scott serves up an entertaining espionage tale, although I suspect the book it's based on offers more character development and a conclusion that has more closure. Regardless, it's worth a rental given the solid presentation and the excellent acting by DiCaprio and Crowe.
Release Date: February 17, 2009
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector
Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics