Movies starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe are usually expected to do big business at the box office, so how did “Body of Lies” only manage to earn $40 million during its domestic release? Chalk it up to post-9/11 fatigue, as Ridley Scott was clearly late to the party when choosing a political thriller set in the Middle East as his next project. Still, even though the movie didn’t do well stateside, it made nearly twice as much overseas, proving that both actors still have major star appeal. And as a result of its overall performance, Warner Bros. has produced a well-balanced collection of special features for the film’s Blu-ray release.
Director Ridley Scott, screenwriter William Monahan and author David Ignatius all sit in on this audio commentary to discuss the film, but unlike your typical track, each participant has recorded their thoughts separately. At first, it may seem a little strange to have the commentary jump back and forth between those involved, but it actually works better than most tracks because you don’t have to worry about people getting cut off or having the discussion pushed in another direction. Scott ends up dominating a majority of the commentary anyway, but sadly, he has very little to say about the actual making of the film, and instead just explains everything that’s happening on screen.
The Blu-ray version allows you to access this collection of nine mini-featurettes as you watch the film, but they can also be viewed individually via the special features menu. Running 79 minutes in total, this is the closest you’re going to get to a making-of featurette, including a behind-the-scenes look at production and costume design, stunts and special effects, and profiles on the lead actors. The best of the bunch, however, are two in-depth featurettes dubbed “Field Operation” that go into greater detail about the making of two crucial action sequences.
Scott, DiCaprio and Crowe sit down to discuss their thoughts on the film’s story, collaborating with one another, and the CIA. I’m not exactly sure what’s “interactive” about the feature aside from the ability to choose what order you view the interviews, but they do provide great insight into the film. Crowe’s interviews, in particular, are worth checking out, as it’s the only time he appears anywhere in the bonus material.
Of the five deleted scenes included, only one is worth checking out – a lengthy sequence where Golshifteh Farahani’s character discovers what Roger Ferris really does for a living – while Scott’s optional commentary proves just as frustrating as the movie track. The fact that none was recorded for the alternate ending is only more maddening – especially because it’s superior to the one that appears in the theatrical version.
That may not seem like a lot, but trust me, by the time you’re finished with the single-disc release of “Body of Lies,” there’s nothing more you’ll want to know. Plus, as always, a digital copy of the film has also been included for your convenience. Just a quick note to Warner Brothers: you guys have done a great job on your Blu-rays, but in the future, can you please take us to a static menu instead of auto-playing the movie? It’s pretty annoying.