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Jordanian intelligence chief Hani (Mark Strong) demands only one thing when CIA field agent Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) wants backing in his search for terrorist Al-Saleem (Alon Abutbul): "Don't lie to me." The problem is, Ferris's brash handler Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) acts on his own, compromising a stakeout and destroying any trust Hani had in Ferris or the CIA. Back in the US, Hoffman and Ferris hatch a plan to flush out Al-Saleem by creating a fake terrorist organisation, but the plan also fools Hani, and when he eventually discovers the deception he cuts Ferris off... just when the out-of-his-depth agent needs him most.
Based on the book by Washington Post journalist David Ignatius, Ridley Scott's twisting spy thriller makes a solid addition to the genre, thanks in no small part to the blistering screenplay by Oscar-winning writer William Monahan (The Departed). The plot tears along, with DiCaprio in the thick of the action while Crowe meddles from the sidelines. And yet it is co-star Mark Strong who, on scene-stealing form, puts in the standout performance of the film. A powerful, punchy thriller that doesn't waste a moment of its running time.