Spy Game review by Dhyana Kearly
However, as long as you've remained seated from beginning to end, this film presents an enjoyable plot that's intelligently and finely woven together, rather like two strands of a single cord.
The storylines simultaneously unravel to reveal the emergent situation mixed with flashbacks covering 30 years of spy-in-training, as told by Nathan Muir (Robert Redford). On the eve of his retirement, Muir is roused early one morning by a phone call portending doom to his protege, Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt), who has been captured in a foiled rescue attempt at a Chinese prison.
To make matters worse, the new bright-eyed CIA management team seems bent on contributing to Bishop's demise, and they're taking Muir down with him. With less than 24 hours before Bishop's scheduled execution, Muir has to get the situation under control, and fast.
This veteran agent has it all figured out. He knows what makes people tick, what they want to hear and what they need to hear.
After all these years of dealing with tricky, sensitive life and death situations, Muir knows how to manipulate people to get what he wants. Armed with this acumen Muir, forced to testify on Bishop's behalf, crafts a story which eventually defuses the CIA's investigation to convict the `rogue spy'.
Moments between the flashback storytelling, Muir is busily facilitating a rescue operation, funded by his own retirement reserves. In order to pull it off though, he has to keep the CIA officials distracted long enough so they can't pull the plug on `Operation Dinner Out'.
I found this film very well put together. The plot was intelligent and the presentation was cinematically appealing. It's subtle enough that you are forced to use your own faculties to figure out what's going on, or not going on - which unfortunately, is a rare commodity in film making today.
Brad Pitt and Robert Redford are perfect for their roles, and they in turn work well with the entire cast of characters.
The only minor distraction that I can find to pick on is that the flashbacks, starting some 30 years ago, depicted an obviously aged Redford and Pitt. But what can you do! Even though this is a Hollywood production, there's only so much that can be accomplished with makeup.