"You remind me of myself in my younger days," Redford says. "Oh God, I hope not," Pitt responds.
Here is a descent spy movie -- if you like 'em complicated.
The film opens with Brad Pitt and his elaborate effort to release a prisoner from a Chinese penitentiary. He came close to success, but as we all know, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Brad Pitt, inches away from departing the prison camp is caught.
Meanwhile, Robert Redford, another CIA agent, is at his last day of work before he retires when he is confronted by his superiors. They start asking Redford questions involving Pitt. Possibly they're trying to figure out who he was trying to rescue and why. Both parties all ready know the answer to that more or less, but the audience sure doesn't! Meanwhile, Redford secretly works an elaborate plan, under his supervisor's noses, to get poor Pitt out of there (he is to be executed in twenty-four hours).
While this film unfortunately inspires little excitement, there is a mystery to be solved. This mystery is not to be discovered by a detective or a spy but by the audience. (The story is told mostly in flashbacks). That, plus the fact that the mystery is somewhat interesting, is the chief reason I enjoyed this film.
There was much room for improvement, however. The plot is interesting but not interesting enough, though there was much to digest at once (some may feel that the story is bungled). I had to force myself to pay attention and I shouldn't have. It could have been a bit more thrilling. It's about spies for Pete's sake and one of them is defying the CIA! While the film is filled with interesting screenshots and "freeze frames," I don't think it's a style that would have suited this film best. The director should have concentrated on making it more exciting.
Robert Redford has recently made a comeback in acting. In only October of 2001, he starred in "The Last Castle." The last film previous to that he starred in was "The Horse Whisperer" released in 1998. I never really liked Redford as an actor too much, however, I do note that he is very dependable. He is usually good in all of his roles. Only seldom does he ever become "great" ("The Sting" is an excellent example of a great Redford performance). "Spy Game" is no different. Redford's performance is simply good and the same goes for Brad Pitt.
The Redford/Pitt team didn't work like peaches and cream like I thought it would (because Brad Pitt had always reminded me of Robert Redford). They are simply an adequate team.
FINAL VERDICT: B-
I loved the story and the mystery. It all should have been much more exciting, however.
Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack, Stephen Dillane, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Larry Bryggman
Don Ignacio's score: B-
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