I am clearly a paranoid nutcase
'Body of Lies' is an okay film. I guess I’d agree with 90 percent of its message on jihadism and how this war should be fought. But some stylistic details made the purist in me cringe. For example, when writing-in an Iranian immigrant to Jordan, why would the script writers (I haven’t read the original novel by David Ignatius) call her ‘Aysha’. Having the name Aysha in Iran would not make one popular, even if one were from Iran’s Sunni minority. It would be like a Canadian white supremacist calling his son ‘Hitler’—just isn’t done that often.
Same goes for an Al-Qaeda type minor character called 'Mehdi'. Better, more sect-specific names could have been used. Plus, there isn’t an Alusi family in Jordan.
But maybe I’m nitpicking too much. However, there’s one thing that I couldn’t stand: turning the Jordanian mukhaberat into slick super-spies. I have some experience in this regard. I’ve even defended the GID on this blog. But they are just not that good. No one is. The movie sustains some other silly myths about spycraft (just as many other of Ignatius’ novels, and BTW, Ignatius does in fact think that the Jordanians are “all that”), and of course, the protagonist (Leo DiCaprio, sometimes speaking in disjointed Iraqi Arabic) develops a conscience, goes native and walks away from this difficult and morally challenging life on the battlefront.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We've seen, read and heard these narratives before. But the stuff on jihadist ideology, tactics and the comparison between SIGINT and HUMINT all serve to redeem the movie, just a little bit.
But what really struck me were the pre-movie trailers. Now, I’ve long sensed that Hollywood tries to brainwash audiences with these trailers right ahead of election seasons, but there was one trailer that really crossed the line, in my view.
Will Smith has a new movie coming out called 'Seven Pounds' (you can watch the trailer video at this link). What I can make out from the plot is that he plays a government official who will ‘save’ seven random people from their plight. The music is upbeat and euphoric, sort of like a salvation hymn.
Smith wears the same suits as Barack Obama, and his hair is kinda cut like the candidate’s.
And then, for apparently no reason at all, we see Will Smith emerging from the sea wearing black swimming trunks. I think the editors of this trailer intended the audience to make this association (two screen shots from 'Seven Pounds' trailer, and a famous photo of Obama's):
So an Obama-like character may be out there to save you, is the basic message here.
Again, Hollywood is being a little too creepy in its efforts at mind control. But don’t listen to me, I’m just an alarmist loon struck down with a bad case of paranoia.