Projections - Movie Reviews

Spy Game

Spy Game

Director Tony Scott treats us to a delicately balanced story of espionage, love, betrayal and redemption in his current thriller Spy Game.  Starring Robert Redford and featuring Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack, Larry Bryggman, Stephen Dillane and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Spy Game delivers an almost frantic pace and intricate story.

Revolving about the relationship between a new CIA recruit Tom Bishop (Pitt) and his seasoned veteran handler Nathan Muir (Redford), you discover the jaded and almost cold personality of Muir and the idealistic vision of Bishop.  Opening on Bishop's current mission in China we see prison conditions that are deplorable and soon to become the accommodations of Bishop himself, but only for a very brief time.  Twenty four hours is all Bishop is given to live by Chinese decree.

Now in the hot seat, the CIA is looking to distance themselves from Bishop and the problems he is causing for upcoming trade talks.  Muir on the other hand is not quite so anxious to see his young protégé left to swing in the breeze even though he is retiring that very day.  While devising a covert operation to rescue Bishop, Muir relates his stories of his times with Bishop to the big fish of the CIA.

Through the use of flashbacks that cover four distinct points of their relationship, we learn the current time is about 1991 and Bishop was recruited as a result of a chance meeting during the Vietnam war.  We also see Bishop on an operation in the mid 70's in East Berlin and in 1985 in Beirut where he is to find a way to assassinate a known terrorist and not make it look like a murder.  The use of the flash back is a great way to cover time without wasting it.  Though this film is just a bit over two hours, you do not feel it drag nor does it seem rushed.

There are moments where you will despise Redford as an unprincipled "do what ever it takes" CIA operative - a manipulator of people and situations where anyone is expendable to accomplish the mission or save his own skin.  There are moments where you will see an aloofness that borders on nobility that I think only results from its being Redford.  His interaction with Pitt is almost father to son and it is this closeness that allows for the climax.

It seems that to control  Bishop, Muir decides that love is not to be between Bishop and Elizabeth Hadley (Catherine McCormack), a medical aid with a questionable past.  This decision results in her being arrested and placed in the Chinese prison.  The redemption by Muir results in his taking responsibility for his actions and taking his personal wealth, contacts and knowledge to set things right.

While this intricate tale is playing out, you can't help but realize or wonder just how far did the CIA and our country go during these dark and terrifying times and how much have we as a nation become accustomed to these types of actions; how much we are told and most importantly how much we really want to know.

 
Frank
Chris
Tony
Jim
Jennifer
Kathleen
Avg.
Spy Game
B+
 
B+
B
B+
B
B+
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