Spy Game

2001

Action / Crime

Synopsis


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September 22, 2012 at 12:14 am

Director

Cast

Robert Redford as Nathan D. Muir
Brad Pitt as Tom Bishop
Catherine McCormack as Elizabeth Hadley
Stephen Dillane as Charles Harker
720p 1080p
801.06 MB
1280*544
English
R
English
23.976 fps
2hr 6 min
P/S 12 / 65
1.70 GB
1920*816
English
R
English
23.976 fps
2hr 6 min
P/S 11 / 37

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Blake French (baffilmcritic@cs.com) 7 / 10

Not just another Tony Scott action film--it's complex, thought-provoking. *** (out of four)


SPY GAME / (2001) *** (out of four)

Tony Scott is known for his big budget, fast-paced, action-packed extravaganzas. His latest film, "Spy Game" is no exception. He takes advantage of a massive budget, but loses sight of human comprehension. It's difficult to grasp his moral when it's awash in a superficial style where individual shots seldom last more than thirty seconds, and where dialogue never exceeds the length of a short paragraph. There's not much time to introduce characters, situations, or even locations-datelines appear on the screen to identify times and places.

Yet, it doesn't just feel as if we are in another movie by Tony Scott-everything feels very real. The danger is real. The characters are real. Many action films are about the action, special effects, and car chase sequences. "Spy Game" does contain those things, but they are in a focused, tight, evocative thriller. This movie is about the characters, not the action. It never forgets that.

"Spy Game" contains a complex structure. We begin in 1991. Veteran CIA officer Nathan Muir (Robert Redford) prepares for retirement. On his last day, he learns that his one-time protege, Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt), has been captured in a foreign prison on a charge of espionage and will be executed in 24 hours. Fearing international crisis, the CIA decides it would be too risky to save him. But with a new generation in control of the agency, Nathan is no longer an insider. He must outsmart his own agency in order to save his old friend.

Most of the film plays out in flashbacks as the CIA digests valuable information from Muir. The movie spans from the Vietnam war to the end of the Cold War, with years ranging from 1965 to about 1991 (although the characters don't seem to age much). We learn Nathan chose Tom as a sharpshooter in Vietnam. He trained with Bishop. They formed a close bond, until something came between them-a woman.

The forty-year span in time poses no problem for "Spy Game." The engaging screenplay, by Michael Frost Beckner and David Arata, focuses on only the necessary characters. The soundtrack, by Harry Gregson-Williams, masterfully captures the various time periods, spicing the scenes with a slick sense of style and intrigue. The cinematography by Daniel Mindel makes the differences in location clear. Christian Wagner's editing gives the movie a frenzied, almost rushed emotion, that puts us right in the middle of the race against time.

Pitt and Redford retain their ground, despite a thick style. Redford creates a character out of nothing. We know little about him at the beginning, and we know little about him at the end. But he somehow gives his character a conscience, human values, and a lot of interest. We care about him because we do not like the black and white CIA operatives. Thus, we care about Pitt's character as well. Pitt gives his character an immature nature. He is in a stereotypical young hotshot role that might have fit him better a few years ago, but he still creates a grave sense of panic and fear.

With a structure like this, we expect subplots to evolve from the flashbacks. There is an intriguing terrorist story. A love story. Themes about betrayal, trust, position, friendship, commitmentÂ…but "Spy Game" never slows down and allows us to absorb these important details. By the end, we feel exhilarated, and we know we just watched a very smart, well-crafted film, but the most we can take from it is that it is a very smart, well-crafted film. I think, beneath all the style and surface, there is a little more to the movie than that.

Reviewed by snake77 8 / 10

High quality Hollywood thriller


Spy Game is everything we're not supposed to expect from a major Hollywood movie: engrossing, intelligent, well written, acted and directed. But that's just what it is and more, this is definitely the best thing I've seen since Memento. Although Pitt is really good and Redford plays himself as well as he has in years, I think the most credit should go to Tony Scott. In the hands of a lesser director this could have been something more like Mission Impossible. But Scott stays right on target, keeping us interested, developing the characters, and keeping the pacing nearly perfect. Scott also shows us that he's stayed with the times: he employs the full array of modern camera tricks like fast motion, reverse zooms and funky lenses but in a way that actually makes the film better instead of being an annoying distraction. The dialogue feels natural, all the actors do good work, no one tries to steal the show or be the star. The story is interesting and almost never lapses into the kind of hyper violence or sappy sentimentality one has come to associate with modern studio pictures. You get a feeling this is pretty close to how the CIA really operates, a place with fantastic technology at its disposal but who's ultimate effectiveness is determined by the fallible people who run the missions and take the chances. I really enjoyed this film, I hope it's a sign of things to come and not a rarity.

Reviewed by CRTF (fox@sedona.net) 10 / 10

In response to the negative reviews


I can't believe some of the nonsense I've read here. People are complaining that Redford looked too old in the flashback scenes -- for one, I thought he looked believable. Secondly, Hollywood hasn't cloned Redford in a vat yet so we'll just have to live with scenes like this. So get over it. Others complain that the movie is somehow BORING, which blows my mind, considering it's non-stop, fast paced action and dialogue. If you're attention span is too short for this movie I'm sure you'll enjoy crap like "XXX". Others complain about messy plot logic (how did a CIA operative get into a Chinese prison? Huuu duhh, I dunno! It's a popcorn flick you morons! It's not a 900 page novel or a documentary). The plot takes a few leaps here and there, but a Snake Eyes or Face/Off this film is not. I read complaints about the 'arty', flashy 'MTV' style editing and filming techniques -- I actually thought the movie was filmed and edited superbly and the contemporary, TV-commercial style actually complemented the film. It's crisp, tight, taut and entertaining. You get the feeling this is a high-quality production, whereas with something like "Mission Impossible 2" the same type of style is implemented but it comes off feeling cheap. Not here, not with this movie. As with Enemy of the State, it works. I have a feeling some of the people that thought it was boring simply couldn't follow what was going on. The plot does make sense if you have the attention span to keep up.

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