The man who never lived

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German title The man who never lived
Original title Body of Lies
Body of lies.svg
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2008
length 128 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
JMK 14
Director Ridley Scott
script William Monahan
production Donald De Line ,
Ridley Scott
music Marc Streitenfeld
camera Alexander Witt
cut Pietro Scalia

The Man Who Never Lived (Original Title: Body of Lies ) is an American thriller from 2008 . Directed by Ridley Scott , the screenplay was written by William Monahan based on the novel by David Ignatius .


The CIA agent Roger Ferris is an anti-terrorist specialist in the Middle East . Ferris speaks fluent Arabic and has the job of socializing with the locals. His actions are monitored with the help of a drone and directed by the CIA strategist Ed Hoffman from Washington . In an action botched by the high command in Washington, in which his partner and an informant die, Ferris is able to save a few CDs and video tapes that were supposed to be burned in a fireplace. Based on this, he finds out that one of the leaders of a terrorist organization lives in Jordan . The terrorists are difficult to grasp for the high-tech CIA because they do not communicate via cell phones or the Internet, but instead transmit all messages and orders personally or leave them on small pieces of paper in dead mailboxes .

Ferris' superior Ed Hoffman sends him to Jordan to look for the terrorist as head of the unit there. Ferris allies himself with the head of the Jordanian intelligence service , Hani Salaam. But the political pressure has been so great since the suicide bombings in Manchester and Amsterdam that Hoffman has been forced to undertake a risky maneuver. Contrary to Ferri's express request and without his knowledge, Hoffman tries to kidnap a Jordanian double agent from the ranks of the Islamists in order to obtain information. This action fails, removing the trace in Jordan. Hani Salaam doesn't believe Ferris was unaware of the operation. Ferris falls from grace with Hani Salaam and has to leave Jordan.

Although Ferris blames Hoffman for the failure of the operation and the rift with Jordanian intelligence, they are both building a bogus terrorist organization in the hope that the terrorists' leader will try to contact them. Hoffman and Ferris can only carry out this coup in a small group without the knowledge of the CIA headquarters. In doing so, they use the identity of an unsuspecting Islamic architect. To be credible, an attack on a US base at Incirlik Air Base is faked and spread in the media. As a result, many terrorist groups report to the architect, including those wanted by Ferris and the CIA. The group kidnaps the architect to talk to him. Since he does not know anything about the attack, the only explanation is the American Ferris, who met him several times during the operation. So the action is finally exposed. Ferris now has doubts about Hoffman's qualification. Hani breaks off his relationship with Ferris when he tells him about the action.

Thereupon Hani develops the plan to hand Ferris over to the terrorists. In a clever maneuver, he leads Ferris to believe that the terrorists have kidnapped his friend Aisha, whom he met during a hospital stay in Amman . Desperate and on his own, Ferris lets himself be handed over to the terrorists to exchange his life for that of his Iranian girlfriend. In the terrorist camp, Ferris is smashed two fingers in front of the camera and then left to torture. When the terrorists want to execute him, a special squad from Hani penetrates the building at the last second and saves Ferris. Al Saleem is arrested. Ferris resigns from the CIA and decides to start a new life with Aisha in Jordan.


Roger Ebert compared the film in the Chicago Sun-Times of October 8, 2008 with the James Bond films , from which, however, "realistic film sets" and "tight dialogues" differentiated him. The representations are convincing and DiCaprio seems credible even amid the absurdities of the plot.

Owen Gleiberman wrote in Entertainment Weekly magazine that the first film lesson was "dead boring". That part of the plot where a terrorist is used as bait should have made up the whole movie. And Gleiberman scoffed that the (English original) title would more suit an erotic thriller with Colin Farrell and Madonna .

The film magazine Cinema drew the following conclusion: "A political thriller for adults, which, despite tough moments, grippingly stages the impotence in the fight against terror."

The jury of the FBW justified their " predicate particularly valuable " u. a. says: “'The Man Who Never Lived' is a political film that uses the action film set to point out the futility of military operations in a world of international entanglements and obscure intrigues. Surprising twists and turns and deceptions lead the viewer astray again and again. He can never be sure whether he can really trust the pictures. "


Production company Warner Bros. commissioned William Monahan to write the script in March 2006 . A year later, David Ignatius' script was published as a novel with the title Penetration . It received the title Body of Lies, which is why the film project was renamed. Leonardo DiCaprio , who was still negotiating the details of his contract at the time, was won as the main actor . Meanwhile, Ridley Scott was looking for suitable film sets in Morocco .

The film was shot in Annapolis , Baltimore, and a few other locations in Maryland, Virginia , Washington, DC, and Morocco . Part of the action takes place in Manchester and Amsterdam , but the relevant scenes were filmed in the United States. Real British police equipment was used for a scene set in England.

Originally, the film was to be shown outside the competition in 2008 at the Venice International Film Festival . It was released in theaters in Australia and Singapore on October 9, 2008, and in the USA on October 10, 2008. The German theatrical release was on November 20, 2008. The film played on a budget of around 70 million US dollars by January 15, 2009 (end of game) in US cinemas around 39.4 million US dollars, worldwide it was over 115 million US dollars.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for The Man Who Never Lived . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , October 2008 (PDF; test number: 115 487 K).
  2. Age rating for The Man Who Never Lived . Youth Media Commission .
  3. ^ A b Warner sets spy team in Variety on March 12, 2006, accessed on September 23, 2008
  4. ^ Film review by Roger Ebert , accessed October 10, 2008
  5. ^ Owen Gleiberman's film review , accessed October 9, 2008
  6. ^ Film review by Cinema , accessed November 20, 2008
  7. ^ FBW jury statement , accessed on January 13, 2013
  8. DiCaprio to star in 'Body of Lies' in Variety on April 8, 2007, accessed on September 23, 2008
  9. ^ Filming locations for Body of Lies , accessed September 23, 2008
  10. This and That for Body of Lies , accessed September 23, 2008
  11. As Cannes closes, eyes turn to Venice  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. in The Hollywood Reporter on May 21, 2008, accessed September 23, 2008@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  12. Release dates for Body of Lies , accessed September 23, 2008
  13. , accessed April 7, 2009
  14. Box Office , accessed April 18, 2009