Spy Game

Directed by Tony Scott
Starring: Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack.
MPAA Rating: R for language, some violence and brief sexuality.

Review by Eugene Kopman <eugene@filmhead.com>
December 17, 2001

A CIA agent is in trouble and it is up to a retired agent to save him. That is the basic premise of Spy Game, but it goes beyond that to create the suspense of a time limit to get something done before it's too late.

In 1991, CIA operative Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) is caught during a rescue operation in China and the Chinese government will kill him in 24 hours unless the Americans claim him.

Tom is a former student of Nathan Muir (Robert Redford), who is now on his last day before retirement. Before letting him go, the CIA executives want background information on Tom so they will have a reason to disavow him and not feel responsible for his death. Nathan walks them through his meeting Tom in Vietnam, to training him in Germany to the Middle East conflict in the 1980s that led to Tom meeting Elizabeth Hadley (Catherine McCormack). Elizabeth is a nurse who worked in the Middle Eastern refugee camps. She is the reason that Tom and Nathan lost contact and stopped talking. Nathan believed that Elizabeth would ruin Tom, and he was right. Tom, on the other hand, was in love and didn't care.

Nathan figures out what the CIA is trying to do and decides to get Tom out of China alive any way he can.

Every once in a while, the audience is reminded of the time left before Tom is to be executed and how long Nathan has to save him. Both Pitt and Redford give great performances, with Pitt portraying an inexperienced agent who is a natural at what he does, and Redford as a man who, after many years, is still a closed book to not only Tom, but to the entire CIA. I also have to give credit to Brad Pitt's make-up artist for making Pitt look unattractive at the end when he is beaten up. Redford's make-up artists couldn't do much to help him look younger. I see them trying, but he still looks old, no matter in what year the scene takes place. But the biggest problem in this movie is that, once again, a woman is a foil for the friendship between two men, and the main conflict in the movie, which I will not give away. Spy Game is a very entertaining film with good performances, but to me, it was still lacking something.

For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Spy Game (2001)

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Spy Game: Original Motion Picture Score -- Compact Disc

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