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 <more>
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.
This is a very neat and intelligent movie. Everything about is perfect, no flaws really. Pitt shines better than in Fight Club here! But what really makes it even better than it is, it is the soundtrack which is absolutely stunning. You could feel european quality approach...Highly Recommend!
Better the n-th time around. (by imdb-com-109)
I made the mistake of only watching this film once the first time around. I did end up buying it, though I was never sure why. Then, years later, I got around to watching it again... and again... and again... While Spy Game is so fast-paced that it's difficult to keep up the first time around, I think that's what makes it such a great DVD.There are performances in this movie that defy description. You almost get a sense that if you were to meet him in the street, you'd get someone named Nathan Muir playing the part of Robert Redford - the transformation is that complete. In <more>
several scenes, but especially the scene on the Berlin rooftop, Redford gives a performance that is unlike almost anything I've ever seen in cinema. It's that perfect. Brad Pitt also does an amazing job, but Redford steals the whole movie.I had to re-watch Spy Game three times before I felt I got a complete understanding of everything going on. There is almost nothing given away for free in this movie - none of the standard Hollywood "shove-it-in-your-face-so-you're-sure-to-get-it" fare. Every decision, most plot points, and a lot of what would normally be called "meaningful looks" are written on Muir's face for a split second, then they're gone.This is one of the few movies that's intellectually challenging to watch. It takes patience and a quick assessment of each scene to understand and keep up. None of the acting is over the top or explicit; most everything is controlled, subtle, and delicately handled.All in all, Spy Game is an exceptional movie, IMO, to watch and in some ways to study.
There are many reasons why we like a movie or not. For me, this is the case in witch small things were enough to like it: the two main actors, the places in which the action occurs, and the fact that it has more to do with a love affair, in a tragic atmosphere than about spies. Well, of course this is about spies - two of them - and mostly about the relation between them; if they are similar enough to understand each other, they are also different enough to generate some tension in the relation. Maybe this is more about how the characters move around each others than about action or intrigue. <more>
In fact this is so obvious that the way in which the story is told is mostly in flashback, with Muir Robert Redford introducing all of them and narrating part. So, the story is the story and the spy game is what Muir does within the CIA, in 24 hours or so. The distinction is important because if you think of this as a traditional spy movie maybe like the Bourne Identity or Supremacy it has two obvious flaws for the genre: the plot is very simple maybe predictable and there's no bad guy, no one to kill or to revenge; there's also almost no genuine action, and, as far as I can remember, Bishop Brad Pitt only fires one weapon in the whole movie. Maybe what mislead most of the people was the title of the movie, and maybe that's why most of them didn't like it. However, in my opinion, this is a very good movie, with strong leading roles and a compelling story. No gadgets, no arms, no villains, no action...oh, no,this is a whole different game, and it's a serious and a dangerous game: the game of people and their relations.
Intelligent thriller, worthy of Le Carré (by FlorianSchirner)
This is what an intelligent and entertaining Spy movie should look like. And I don't mean the "Super-Spy" genre with its gadgets and sly wit. In contrary. This is a very clever plot using many time and space spanning scenes. In short it revolves around a young CIA agent Pitt who tries to rescue his one time asset and then beloved McCormack from a Chinese prison. He gets captured and will be executed a few days later. 24 hours before the execution the CIA learns from his capture and, a presidential visit and trade talks ahead, decide to burn the rogue agent. They contact his <more>
recruiter and mentor Redford to fill them in on the young agent. This he does. Between these flashback scenes the senior agent uses all his wile he gained as a field agent to set his protegé free. The plot twists several times in unexpected ways and the tricks Redford uses in his scheme are simply great. The fine scene from "Clear and present danger", where Ford tries to outsmart his fellow deputy director are but a mere faded memory from this scheming. The directing utilizes modern fast paced cutting and editing, but mostly in scenes where there is action. Unlike many other movies using these methods, here it enhances the film instead ruining it I regret watching the otherwise great movie "Man under Fire" . Speaking of action, if you expect an action packed spy movie like the fore-mentioned "Clear and present danger", you'll be disappointed. The only shooting involves a bunch of soldiers first Vietcong, later on US Marines and is only mere background. Most of the suspense is created verbally and the movie is filled to the brim with adrenaline rising suspense. The acting is very strong, especially Redford and Pitt, which seem to have developed a great chemistry. Having worked together before may have helped. But Redford definitely dominates the movie. His scenes are more than intense and when he unpacks his most dangerous weapon, his smile in the scene when the nasty superior thinks he has nailed Redford it is most memorable. I think this is one of his strongest acting. Summary: If you read and like intelligent thrillers from authors like Forbes, Le Carré or Nichols you might already have devoured this gem of a movie and if not, go and get it.
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. <more>
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.
Tony delivers something I would have expected from brother Ridley -- a set of images about images:--the photographic and editing style is one of successive photographs often shifted/zoomed with the shutter click; some black and whites, many color deprived.--the hero's cover story is as a photo journalist and his photos are shown the same as the CIA's, Redford's recollections, and the 'narrator's.'--The agency is primarily about images in real life, images and action and that's self-referentially played up here. Scott uses a style of zooming in and out by jump cuts <more>
that he developed on his last film -- also about images and the intelligence community. Lots of cameras and binoculars here.--the dramatic action is global, involving several hotspots with lots of action. When viewing that action, the cameras are hand-held. When watching the calm, controlling scenes at headquarters, we see them more statically as they are being videotaped, often spying through blinds. Spy see. Often the images have digital tags.--Some of the field scenes with Redford and Pitt are shot as though from a spy plane as in that swooping, sweeping shot on a roof or if interior as seen through a hole.--Lots of helicopter shots, and lots of helicopters. It seems every combination was employed among the following: ground, interior of heli, interior of second heli, front of heli, heli POV, above heli. This by itself is self-referential when you notice how many of the 'ordinary' shots are from helis.There is also a clever self-reference in the casting. Pitt was hailed as the 'new Redford' when he appeared in 'Thelma and Louise,' by brother Ridley. Then in 'River Runs' he was directed by Redford, in a Redfordlike role, underscoring the relationship. Here, he also is mentored, but in my opinion outacts Redford at every turn. I believe Scott intended to use Redford's limits as a tired actor to the advantage of this reference. Pitt has been working hard in relatively minor but challenging roles and the results show.The only real complaints are the clumsy plot mechanics: the last day before retirement -- a clear 24 hour to doom clock -- a wily and complete outwitting of the pencilnecks -- all the CIA analysts and technicians as outwittable dimmies -- a senior character says 'get everything we have on so and so' and 10 seconds later a secretary appears with the files in multiple copies -- a helicopter is shot down: it disappears behind the trees and then we see a fireball. Fortunately we gloss over all that stuff. Couldn't in 'Enemy of the State.'
Quite a good thriller...more of an expose on some dirty tricks of CIA operatives! (by saykeng)
It is refreshing to watch an older Robert Redford pitting his acting skills against a younger Brad Pitt in this spy thriller movie. Both of them acted very well despite the sketchy plot.To me, the storyline is pretty straight-forward: A retiring CIA operative, Nathan Muir Robert Redford learned that his protégé, Tom Bishop Brad Pitt , had been arrested in China as a result of a botched rescue attempt of his girl-friend. He was due to be executed shortly. Because of vested interests, CIA refused to mount a rescue. Out of friendship, Muir engineered a successful but unauthorized rescue.The <more>
entire movie is beautifully choreographed through black & white flash-backs & pure dialog, during which Muir recalled his personal encounter & close friendship with his protégé. That relationship spanned across a time line of about twenty years, from the Vietnam War in the 70's, to the end of the cold war in Berlin during the 80's & then to the mean streets of Beirut in the 90's.The movie moves on to show how Muir had taught Bishop all the skills or dirty tricks? of spycraft...how to case a restaurant, fix a radio,...to be callous, look at the big picture...to stay remote...to sell out people if that's of use...to kill.There is no typical high-octane action sequences in this spy thriller movie, except for a heart-pounding escape scene in a China prison.Throughout the movie, one can see how Muir had to use his wits & all the skills or dirty tricks? he had learned while working for the CIA to out-smart the CIA's top echelon as well as his fellow CIA operatives to mount a personally-financed rescue mission.I really enjoyed watching his brilliant machinations as he moved from scene to scene in the movie. I just loved the part where he juxtaposed CIA satellite images to fool his bosses. He even forged the signature of the CIA Director. At the end of it, all of them apparently did not have the slightest clue as to what was happening & had happened.On the whole, I have enjoyed watching this spy thriller. It is also comforting to know that an accomplished Singaporean actor, Adrian Pang, had a small role in the movie. He played a medic during the botched rescue attempt.