Adapted from a David Ignatius novel by ‘The Departed’ writer William Monahan, Scott’s latest almost manages to square the circle of providing a cogent analysis of Bush II’s foreign policy failings while delivering a steady stream of multiplex-friendly bumps, scrapes and explosions. Anchored by a hard-working, persuasive DiCaprio, it’s dense, knotty stuff, convincing (as ever with Sir Ridley) in its milieu, and offering a deftly pointed study in contrasts between front-line personnel who really know the territory and powerful, insular decision-makers, far removed from the daily threat of assassination or abduction.
Perhaps Scott’s ever-restless shooting style doesn’t quite differentiate between the peaks and troughs of the narrative, yet it’s still an engrossing account of the intersection between process and ethics – shades of Jean-Pierre Melville? Docked a star, unfortunately, for a hokey final reel which somewhat reduces the intelligence quotient, though the trenchant coda very nearly gets it back again.
Cast and crew