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4.5 out of 5 stars71
4.5 out of 5 stars
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2002
This film is for you if you like a bit of brain exercise. It has a few explosions alright, and two great leads....but it's the intellectual workout that impressed me.
The plot's a little like The Firm, perhaps. Not quite as good, but the same kind of thing: one man against an organisation.
There are a lot of twists and turns and, along with effective flashback scenes, this keeps the plot and the viewer on its toes. The acting is another worthy ingredient: Brad Pitt is good and Robert Redford is superb. Their pairing works too...if anyone was going to be a Rookie to Redford, it just has to be Brad Pitt.
Extra aren't bad. There're shorts on casting and choosing film locations. And I think that's about it.
All in all, a strong film with nice acting and a plot to get your teeth into. Recommend here.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2006
An intelligent espionage film!! Don't get me wrong I liked The Bourne Identity alot, but Spy Game is very much a different side to the spy genre. The agents in this film are much more believable. Generally all the CIA men are middle aged pen pushers quibbling over what to do to save face when Brad Pitt's character gets caught behind enemy lines (so to speak). The film juts back and forth between Redford on his last day in the office and the flashback story of how he and Pitt became colleagues / friends years earlier. The strength of Spy Game is in Redford's quite brilliant performance under interrogation from his own colleagues. Where there's little action here, the dialogue and performances make the secnes the most interesting. The flashback scenes where much of Scott's trademark action takes place, are oddly enough the parts that are hardest to follow. Spy Game is a solid and intelligent film, but it does get a little bit lost about two thirds of the way in. With a few minutes trimmed out around this point it could have warranted 5 stars, but minor quibbles like that aside it's still worthy of four for Redfords performance and some great cinematography.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2003
While listening to the director's commentary on the deleted scenes I discovered that "Spy Game" could have been even more complicated than the movie I just watched. The hook comes before the title as Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) almost succeeds in getting Elizabeth Hadley (Catherine McCormack) out of a Chinese prison in 1991. Of course, we do not know who either of these characters are at this point in the film, but rest assured that Nathan Muir (Robert Redford) will explain everything to us in his own good time. Just to make thing even more interesting, this is Muir's last day at the C.I.A. and to top it off, he is "old school," which means he is going to spend the day butting heads with superiors. We quickly learn that Bishop, who is going to be executed by the Chinese in 24 hours, was recruited by Muir. However, because Bishop did this operation as a rogue and there is a big economic summit with the Chinese coming up, the C.I.A. has no interest in saving his hide. This means that Muir is going to have to save his protégée and do it without leaving the C.I.A. building.
The story of Bishop's recruitment and his training by Muir is juxtaposed with Muir's efforts to find out what is going on and doing something about it. Fortunately Muir has a faithful and competent secretary (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) and the fact that nobody in the building is a field agent, which means it is really not a fair battle of wits. The flashbacks on Redford training Pitt (sometimes it is hard to remember these guys are playing characters) are interesting, but sketchy, as are the missions out in the field. Muir lays down the lay for Bishop, which includes such gems as "Don't EVER risk your life for an asset. If it comes down to you or them... send flowers." Of course, Elizabeth Hadley turns out to be just such an asset and ends up coming between the two men. One of Muir's other laws is that if Bishop goes "off reservation" he will not come and get him. Muir says this with such force and emphasis that we know he is going to be a pushover when push comes to shove.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2007
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.

Now the con's. Okay this movie is predictable. It's a spy movie. I don't want an ending I know from the start, I want an ending that satisfied all the answers that were swimming in my head, yet somehow evaded explanation. This did not happen in this movie. Everything was obvious, although Redford's performance did fool many.

And my other problem, they didn't use Brad Pitt enough. He is immensely talented, and they used him to demonstrate how much pain one person can take for the right reasons. The plot alone justifies that, Pitt was not allowed to demonstrate his character. He can be so cool and so unbelievable in roles. This didn't happen here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 22 September 2013
I happened on to this film on a rainy, dreary day. It turned out to be a good film, all because of Robert Redford.

Robert Redford, plays Nathan Muir, as a CIA spy. we see him in the last 24 hours of his last day at work. Brad Pitt, plays Tom Bishop, as a young recruit. Catherine McCormack, plays Hadley, a love interest of Bishop. She was sent to China on a top secret mission, and when trouble developed, Bishop was sent to save her. All of this in a 25 year time span, and we see the past in flash backs, partly while Muir is being questioned by the CIA hierarchy. All the while Muir has been acting to get both Bishop and Hadley back, against the CIA's orders. As his last day takes place, we see how this develops and how his leaders really know nothing about him. All they think they know is wrong.

This is an action film, but much of it is head games. Redford as Muir is the film. Just when the powers that be, think they have the man, they are proved wrong, and it is the cunning of this man Muir, acted by Redford, that saves the film.
It kept me hooked.

Recommended. prisrob 09-22-13
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2005
As someone who is generally wary of espionage film, as I have trouble following the twists and turns, the composition of this film was most refreshing.
The plot in a nutshell is so; Robert Redford is on his very last day as a CIA Agent before retirement. He discovers that a former field agent of his, played by Brat Pitt, has been arrested during a prison break in China. Redford's CIA superiors demand he explain Pitt's actions and background. The rest of the story is then told in a series of flashbacks as Redford relates the first time he met Pitt in Vietnam, his subsequent recruitment and training in Berlin and the his work in Lebanon.
Redford's performance is a masterpiece of experience and knowledge; he gives the audience almost no insights into his part's character yet manages to get them to empathise with him the whole way. It really is a joy to see such a master at work. Pitt pulls his weight and gives a good solid performance. The rest of the cast do their job well enough but there's no mistaking the director decided to make this a comparison of heartthrobs from yesteryear and the present day.
The plot and dialogue are a delight as well, there are some really funny gags and the relationship that builds up between Redford and Pitt is a pleasure. So much so in fact you can forgive the film its numerous holes and inaccuracies.
My only one criticism is that there is no effort made to "age" either Redford or Pitt during the whole film, and when you consider the passage of time is at least 25 years this was maybe something the filmmakers should have considered. I question also the way that Pitt manages to wear 90's fashion in 70's Berlin, but, hey, I suppose that's cool for you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 3 June 2004
Wow, what's NOT to like in this tightly-directed, smart spy thriller? Certainly not the excellent Brad Pitt, who plays Viet Nam vet, ex-boy scout, erstwhile trained assassin who doesn't shy at doing wetwork while agonizing about the fate of his "assets" or contacts in the field. And a great performance from Robert Redford as Nathan Muir, who is about to retire as a CIA agent, but has plenty of game left in him on his last day at work.
The supporting cast is mostly unknowns who do a superb job as CIA flacks. The plot is full of twists, turns and yet is logically laid out. The tension builds nicely at the beginning, and though this is a longish film (2 1/2 hours) it carries the tension well and never, ever drags.
I enjoyed this film for the fact that nothing really was telegraphed as to outcome, though we almost see the film in full circle from beginning to end. A fine effort by Pitt, Redford and most of all, Tony Scott. Not much in the way of "extras" on the DVD (commented by director, deleted scenes, etc.)
Highly Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2004
What a great mind twisting movie. While Robert Redford and Brad Pitt's characters run the gamut of teacher-student to friends to former friends they still understand what each other is all about. As the movie moves into its final stages and the cloak and dagger picks up it becomes even more engrossing. This is a move, somewhat, in the vein of "Sneaker" with the little, individual agent, running against the grain of the agency.
A very good movie, recommended to anyone who likes the double cross, triple cross type suprise or the little man outsmarting the big arrogant man.
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on 28 February 2005
This film is very engaging, it incorporates an admirable cast especially in terms of Robert Redford who has already astounded in classics such as 'Ordinary People' and 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' it also has a very fast-paced story line, which unlike a lot of governmental spy thrillers it isn't too complicated, it has nostalgia, it has heart, it has loyalty and overall is very good.
Yet there is a bad point, the reason it only got four stars is the directing, now I can understand what Tony Scott, (the man who bought us other cool thrillers such as 'Enemy of the State' and 'The Fan') wanted to achieve, he created an environment that was intimidating and fast-paced, and fair enough that was good but every now and then he would use the camera in such baffling ways, examples include, the feet walking down a corridor. What was that about? I don't know about you but that confused me. He also used unusual techniques when zooming in and out such as the bit where Redford and Pitt are talking on the roof, they finish their conversation and then for some unknown reason the camera zooms away far enough back to see the building he's on. Crazy I have no idea what he was trying to show us. And if it was the building then I think he showed us something insignificant, Crazy.
But even though I suppose I could make a mockery of the directing picking at every bit of it until Tony Scott himself exploded, I think that would not be necessary sure the camera work is a let down but the acting is great, the special effects are decent and film as a whole is good to watch so with all it's flaws it gets four stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2014
Two Hours of pure genius by the late Tony Scott and awesome in Blu-Ray on a 5.1 home cinema system. Plus great acting by Robert Redford.
We have watched it numerous times and it never fails to impress, there are more twists and turns in the plot than an English country lane plus the soundtrack by Harry Gredson-Williams is mind blowing in Blue-Ray. It is set in Virginia, Hong Kong, Middle East and China, oh and briefly London.
We have the DVD, the CD Soundtrack and now the Blu-Ray, it's entertainment supreme.
Only one downside there is some swearing by Brad.
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