|Spy Game [HD DVD]
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Superstar Brad Pitt teams with Academy Award-winner Robert Redford in this pulse-pounding action thrill ride.When a top-secret unauthorized mission goes bad CIA agent Tom Bishop (Pitt) is captured and sentenced to die. With just 24 hours to get him out alive Bishop s boss Nathan Muir (Redford) must battle enemies abroad and the system inside the CIA to save his friend. Now the clock is ticking and the race is on as the deadliest game of all explodes into the spectacular adrenaline-fueled thriller that ABC Radio says Sizzles with suspense! System Requirements:Running Time: 127 Mins.Format: DVD HD Genre: ACTION/ADVENTURE Rating: R UPC: 025192778629 Manufacturer No: 27786
A thinking person's thriller, Spy Game employs dense plotting without sacrificing the kinetic momentum that is director Tony Scott's trademark. The film has the byzantine scope of a novel, focusing on veteran CIA operative Nathan Muir (Robert Redford), whose prot¨¦g¨¦ Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) is scheduled for execution in a Chinese prison. It's Muir's last day before retiring (clich¨¦ alert!), and Bishop is being deliberately sacrificed by oily CIA officials to ensure healthy trade with China. Muir has 24 hours to rescue Bishop and his perfunctory love interest (Catherine McCormack), and Spy Game connects the mentor's end-run strategy to flashbacks of his student's exploits in Berlin, Beirut, and beyond. Ambitious but emotionally bland--and not as exciting as Scott's Enemy of the State--Spy Game offers pass-the-torch humor between leather-faced Redford and pretty boy Pitt, and although their dialogue is occasionally limp, the movie compensates with efficient style and substance. --Jeff Shannon
- spy games
this was a movie I've watched more then once to really understand. I feel that Robert Redford and Brad Pitt gave a very solid performance. And if you like moves you need to think through you'll like this, we did....more info
- Outstanding movie, very rich and full of qualities
This movie is a perfect example of entertainment at its best. Nothing lacks: superb actors, good story, action, thrill, suspense, dialogues, magnificient pictures, exceptional camera work, great focus, good variety and choice of locations, good soundtrack, happy end with a morale... this movie was just made in quality. It's really close to perfection at its best.
Also, contrary to some other movies where the course of the story may be difficult to follow, in this one, the story unfolds in a very clear, pleasant way (even though the scenario is not simple, dealing with several places in time and space).
What I liked very much, infact, is the story itself, the gentlemanship of Nathan, who is so devoted to save his ex-partner Tom; he manages to save Tom by himself at his own risks, as the CIA stops for fear of political incidents.
So this movie is not only well filmed, it is also showing some of the good sides of human nature, which definitely adds to the pleasure....more info
- good moive , terrible picture quality
A very god movie as far as content, but terrible picture quality as far as it being high def. I would have to say don't waste your $$ on the HD-DVD version and just by the regular DVD, they both have the same picture quality. ...more info
- Good Guys
Good movie to have and stay with, both main actors are a real classic, will make for a good collection addition....more info
- Top notch thriller which take you for a nice ride
Excellent thriller with new millennium A-list star Brad Pitt teaming with 70's A-lister Robert Redford (smartly casted in a 'Buddy picture' after Pitt took direction from Redford in his memorable yet under-appreciated "A River Runs Through it" from 1994) in an entertaining spy film directed by action-obsessed Tony Scott which will have you at times on the edge of your seat. Scott rewards his action hungry audience in calculated doses as the picture is laced with lots of intrigue, and second guessing including a clever use of flashback sequences for additional suspense to this international thriller. Catherine McCormack is appealing as the love interest for Pitt's character which goes beyond obligatory since the joining of the two conflicts with his mentor's guidelines for espionage survival. The chemistry of all the players along with Scott's exciting action input make this an above average Pitt/Redford 'Buddy flick'....more info
- Nothing special with Spy Game
Unfortunately Redford, although an incredible actor can also hit a wall now and again. I found this film to have a large concentration on conversations that were supposed to be meaningful in regards to the mentoring ability of Redford's character. Instead it ends up being just talk, and at times almost seems to appear as if it has no real purpose. They would have been better off finding some real former spies and making a film based off of those experiences instead of the dull, boring effect that this thing emits. Really just could not find anything good in it, and although it has a great cast, the roles they fill are just that...filled, but not enough to make this film have any rewatchable value....more info
- Fun Movie
Pay attention to details because if you do they will repeat later in the movie. It was really a fun movie. It was more involved that some other movies. I really like action adventure. This one is a little bit higher level. Not super high, but just a little....more info
I like this movie. It's a story of a teacher-student relationship that takes place over a period of years in nasty places, between a veteran CIA agent and a kid he recruits. It's told through flashbacks. Oddly enough, although the flashbacks cover 20 years or more, neither character looks any younger or older in any of the scenes... that tripped me out. There's no explanation for it, the movie's just that way. Oh well.
Anyways, there's a problem and this operative is in trouble, and the agency is asking the older dude for information about him... I love the ending. It's a very clever movie....more info
- Actually something of a spy story
It's Nathan Muir's (Redford) last day at the CIA, and his former protege, Tom Bishop (Pitt), has gotten himself caught by the Chinese trying to break someone out of prison.
So begins this interesting movie that goes through the history of Muir teaching Bishop the "rules" of how to live through a career running operations at the CIA.
Unlike the typical "spy flick," this one doesn't involve Muir fighting off a succession of sexy chicks in order to triumph over some chortling villain. He never leaves the office until the very end.
It is entirely entertaining to watch Muir explain his "rules," only to, on his last day, break them, one by one.
Even more entertaining, in a rewatch, is to try to figure out just how many times he speaks bald-faced lies, and, better still, how often the people lied to choose to accept the lies, even when they know better. There are numerous occasions where his rescue attempt could have unravelled if someone found it in their interests to poke holes in his lies.
It's a bit of a period piece; Muir is one of the bloody-handed "operational guys" from the days when the CIA was pretty clear about their need to act on the world stage. His successors are nowhere near as clearly bloody-minded, as the CIA has since moved into more of an "analytical" model. Of course, a Bishop, dead in a Chinese prison, is as dead whichever group leaves him to die...
Also interesting is that Muir presents a pretty strong apologia for doing bloody deeds. His character believes that, nasty or not, they are doing needful things. It is by no means clear that the successors have any better ethics than he had.
The stories about ex-wives keep popping out of the woodwork, supplying considerable humorous material. The REAL story emerges only at the very end, leaving no time to reflect on Muir's REAL character. He behaves throughout as one who well deserves to have wives leaving him, in droves. Reality is that all anyone sees, most of the time, is the facade that Muir wanted them to see, and it's worth reflecting on how different his internal reality is from the impressions you start with.
At the end, the story is a pack of lies, with a few flashes, here and there, of Muir's REAL character. In a sense, he is a failure, since he only rarely gets to express his real beliefs. This is a little like the "About Schmidt" character, who, after years of hiding his true desires, completely fails to express the things he believes truly important.
But unlike Schmidt, Muir does have enough courage to act on his convictions to actually make some difference....more info
- One of the best depictions of espionage ever...
Spy Game was a superb movie that will keep you guessing until the end. With the intrigue and the wonderful plot of going backwards showed the two worst places the United States has involved itself in, Beirut and Vietnam. The soundtrack to this movie also keeps the viewer on edge with its combination of fast paced action music and some music from the area, for example stringed intruments with China and deep wood instruments for beirut. The casting was also superb not only with Pitt and Redford but the CIA executives along with other minor characters was very well performed. This movie is just a plain great movie that everyone should watch. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes the James Bond series, Tom Clancy movies, and any movie about war....more info
- Not a Memorable Movie but Quiet Interesting
I wasn't satisfied with Spy Game, but it is one of the realistic spy movies out there in years. It is an average movie that can be forgotten fastly and not one of the memorable movies out there. I say, give it a try and never judge a book by it's cover! It's a So So movie and needs thinking while the story goes on. I liked the movie but not much, and the movie is longer than what it should be, the plot is streched more than average. The Video is great, the sound is SPECTACULAR with the DTS sound, but there is a little problem with the subtitle switching it on, it won't switch on at all, I don't know why but other people I know or other reviews that I have read, it was the opposite where the subtitle won't switch off instead of my problem which is ON!!!
UNIVERSAL >> Fix the Problem please...Thanks...more info
- One of Scott's better films.
Spy Game (Tony Scott, 2001)
Tony Scott has had one of the simply weirdest careers in Hollywood. How a person could switch back and forth between making atmospheric, sexy thrillers (The Hunger, Beat the Devil, and I have the highest hopes for the upcoming Emma's War) to making intelligent action-suspense drama (Revenge, Enemy of the State, I have even higher hopes for his upcoming remake of Man on Fire) to putting out some of Hollywood's shallowest piles of reeking, unbearable crap (Top Gun, Days of Thunder, 48 Hours II) is beyond me. But he hits the mark enough to keep me coming back to see what he's going to do with any given movie.
Spy Game, thankfully, falls into the "intelligent" section rather than the "reeking" section. (One wonders if this has to do with Scott finally throwing over Tom Cruise and wooing Brad Pitt as his eye candy.) It was also entirely different than I expected it to be from the previews, usually a good thing.
Nathan Muir (Robert Redford) is on his last day with the CIA. He gets a tip from a friend in Hong Kong before going to work that one of his ex-operatives, Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt), has been arrested in China. For what, no one seems to know. Or so they say. As soon as he gets to work, he's pulled into a meeting about Bishop, China, and a whole lot of other things that make him wonder what's going on.
All this, however, is a framework for Redford to sit in the meeting and spin tales, both to everyone else there and in his mind, going back over his ten-year relationship with Bishop, from the time they met in Vietnam to their last work together in Beirut, where the two of them split over Bishop meeting and falling in love with a woman (Catherine McCormack [Dancing at Lughnasa/Shadow of the Vampire]). It also offers us a look into Muir's conscience, as he, who has always counseled Bishop that once someone's caught, they should be left to hang, decides whether or not he's going to try and find a way to help Bishop out of the mess.
Well-crafted, well-executed, but a bit jarring in places. One assumes a directors' cut would probably help with the continuity, as it does with so many films. What finally got released, though, is certainly worth a rental. A good way to pass two hours. ***...more info
- Great Movie
This is a very suspenseful movie, despite the times where the viewer is quite capable of predicting what will happen in the following scene. The storyline is interesting, and the reconstruction of war torn lebanon, is a quite accurate depiction of what the atmosphere was like during that period of civil unrest. Nevertheless, there was one flaw in one of the scenes. The scene where Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, and his lady friend are in a bar. The music playing in the background, an arabic song, Nour El Shams, is a contemporary song, yet for some odd reason, it seems to have been played in a time, which was way back when. This song didn't even exist, neither did the singer sing, so why was it being played? Who knows?! Nonetheless, a great movie that is enjoyable to watch....more info
- Quite a thriller...more of an expose on the dirty tricks of CIA operatives...
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 protege, 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 unauthorised rescue.
The entire movie is beautifully choreographed through black & white flash-backs & pure dialogue, during which Muir recalled his personal encounter & close friendship with his protege. That relationsip spanned across a timeline 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.
- Excellent movie
The twists in this movie are what make this movie excellent. Pitt and Redford are on the top of their game....more info
- I REALLY liked it
I know some people find it just average or a mildly entertaining flick but for some reason it is one of my top 5 films. Honestly, I couldn't really tell you why I like this film so much. Maybe because of all the locations and the events that occur in them? Maybe it's because I like the acting? Honestly, I have no idea. For some reason I could watch this film every week and I would enjoy it all the more. If you didn't know, the soundtrack is worth every penny....more info
- highly recommended
Excellent actors, scenes, photography and story.
Watching An action packed movie with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt? How wrong can you be?
Spy game has a blend of action inside and outside the CIA offices. It also shows what a man can do and how far he can go for love.
Some of the story takes place in Beirut during the civil war in the late 1970's. Since I lived there during most of that period, I can say the recreation of Beirut and life in that city during that crazy time are pretty accurate. Enough said.
DVD quality, picture and sound are excellent. Highly recommended. ...more info
- Over-editing Mars An Otherwise Good Film
Nathan Muir (Robert Redford), a CIA operative about to retire, receives a phone call from Hong Kong on the morning of his retirement. Hurry to the office and read the cable. At CIA Headquarters, Muir learns that Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) has been taken prisoner by the Chinese government for trying to help a prisoner escape. Muir's supervisors want to hear all about Tom, an operative trained by Muir. Muir quickly learns that Tom may be sacrificed and sets about saving his former prot¨¦g¨¦.
"Spy Game", the new film directed by Tony Scott and starring Redford and Pitt, is a satisfyingly good film. Almost surprisingly so. Scott is a good director, but he edits his films very fast, almost as though he is catering to the MTV Generation. He may very well be doing that, but if so, the film has a lot of story, seasoned actors, and a complicated story, elements not usually associated with an MTV Generation film.
Redford is very good cast as the aging CIA operative. Much of the film is told in flashback as he recounts the training of Tom Bishop. These scenes are actually the best because they allow the actors to create a relationship, a bond between the characters which is interesting to watch. Redford conveys an authority that Bishop picks up on and almost embraces. He becomes the father figure that Pitt's character needs. He also manages to convey emotion when his character isn't supposed to convey any. It is interesting to watch Redford play against Pitt; I can see the similarities between Redford at Pitt's age and Pitt's acting now. If Pitt manages to create half the library that Redford has, his career will be well-remembered.
A significant portion of the film is set in 1991, present day in the film's timeline. These scenes focus on Muir trying to learn about Bishop's situation and smack of an artificial air. These scenes are interesting but Muir learns way too many things by catching glimpses of things out of the corner of his eye, or holding fake conversations during the middle of an interrogation. All of these scenes are set in CIA Headquarters. They make the rest of the staff working at the CIA appear to be buffoons.
As the story careens back and forth, in both time and between places, I became increasingly involved in the story and was able to overlook the excessive editing. The flashbacks, ranging from the Vietnam War to the conflict in Lebanon, show Bishop as he matures and the relationship with Muir deepens. As they are both spies, outward emotion is frowned upon, so it is interesting to watch Pitt and Redford display what emotions they can and to make these characters empathetic.
The editing is still on my mind. At times, this works. For instance, there will be a master shot, establishing a town square for instance. Then the camera will find an element, move quickly towards it and turn slightly, showing us where Muir is, in a landscape. This seems successfully evocative of an actual spy mission. But this type of effect is carried to extremes and over-done, making it difficult to concentrate on things for very long.
Another interesting thing about the film is the pacing. Most of the flashback sequences are exciting and fast-paced. The scenes set in 1991 are much, much slower.I don't mind this, but it is another inconsistency, especially as the film appears to be geared towards the MTV crowd.
Despite the over-editing and the ease with which Muir finds out confidential information, I recommend "Spy Game" for the engaging characters created by Redford and Pitt.
- Gripping action thriller.
Has it all: blend of thrill, action, adventure, elements of friendship and love. Recommended highly....more info
- Trumps similar CIA hotshot/mentor tales
We went to a double feature, ostensibly to see David Mamet's 'Heist' and stuck around for 'Spy Game.' This Redford/Pitt thriller was the far better movie. It really grabs you right from the beginning and never lets up.
'The Recruit,' a 2003 release starring Al Pacino and Colin Farrell, tries to mine the same vein of hotshot CIA recruit with wizened mentor. Again, 'Spy Game' is the far better movie.
Two things worth pointing out:
1) The depiction of 1980s-era war-torn Beirut was spectacular. The only setting in recent memory that ranks with it is Ridley Scott's depiction of Mogadishu in "Black Hawk Down."
2) Redford is fabulous here as a guy pulling all the levers and working every back channel he can in Langley. God knows if it was realistic, but it sure felt a lot more believable than the CIA environment depicted in 'The Recruit'.
Definitely worth your time to check out 'Spy Game'....more info
- A GGGreat Thriller
Where can I start. THis movie is so exciting. Robert Redford stars as the retiring spy with one last job in mind. To save his long time spy trainee that he trained a long time ago. The actors are great in this movie. And this DvD is packed with special features. Even if you dont like thrillers I think you should at least watch this one....more info
- What's NOT to like?
Not that anyone else hasn't already said this: but good looking guys, international spies and a thriller plot - what beats that? i could watch this movie over and over and not get bored. Love it!...more info
- Neat Twist on Spy Movies
This was a pretty typical spy movie, fast-moving, double-agents, all that stuff. However, most of the real-time action in the movie takes place in an office. I found this part of the movie to be interesting and taut, and it was more than a little refreshing for the genre. Robert Redford plays a great smart-[expletive deleted], and I enjoyed the office scenes a lot. The flashbacks were good at times, but tended toward the saccharine. Can't say I'm thrilled with the ending, either, but it wasn't a complete cheat.
If too many car chases are giving you a headache, this low-key spy flick might be something you're into. ...more info
- Excellent movie in companionship and excellence under pressure
My Profile: 43 yo (and getting better), no qualifications whatsoever as a movie critic
I never get tired of watching this movie, the tutor apprenticce relantionship is superb and I think the documentation on the inner works of the CIA and their everyday lives of their field operatives is very well researched and credible.
The movie has many plots in which to recreate on, the acting of both Pitt and redford is superb and one can appreciate the strong bonding that they make.. a bond that holds no mater if Pitts character goes roge and is left to his own death by the CIA, but the fundamental role is undeniably in the hands of Redford, who under inmense pressure is able t use the CIA owns inner strings to conduct the game he wants to be played, it is mixture of skill, inside knowledge and at the same time an act of redemtion, for Redford's character is in his last days on the CIA prior to retirement, we see a man that now is tired of playing the office game and seeing how the world he once help construct (thorugh dubious schemes) is now meaningless and devoid.
You could also see a healthy critisism of the CIA unescrupulus tactics in scenarios we are now prone to forget such as the cold war and the lebanon of the civil war of the late 70s... yet to me this is not a movie designed to expose a political angle, I guess today this sort of movie would be censored for it may carry a message that may weaken institutional moral against terrorism, or some croc along those lines.
This is rare glimpse at aworld of spies not taylored to the glamour that hollywood highlits of a marvel james Bond type of hero, we see real people, facing friendship, love, political backstabbing, alienation, etc.
- Not as clever as it's meant to be...
Robert Redford and Brad Pitt try to out-blonde and out-handsome each other in this muddled spy thriller. Did someone cut out the twenty minutes during which the plot makes sense and we care at all about any of the characters? Guess so....more info
- playing for keeps
"It's Muir's last day before retiring (clich¨¦ alert!)" says Amazon review. Lol. That is true. Why they gotta do that? SPY GAME is a good movie though. It's got good acting, was directed well, tells a good story and I always appreciate seeing lots of Europe in a movie. It doesn't paint dark enough a picture of the CIA, an organization that has done enough harm in the world that socially responsible filmmakers should never miss the opportunity to really let those creeps have it, imo. But of course sending a message is not even close to being the whole point of telling a story or making a movie. I'd say, just don't make 'em look good. And SPY GAME does sort of come close, what with none other than Brad Pitt and Robert Redford together on screen. Two of Hollywood's best looking and most charismatic actors. They're cool together. Basically as a young soldier Pitt is recruited by Redford to the Company. They do some work over the years (the hot spots: eastern europe, the middle east)and eventually Pitt becomes disillusioned with spy games and all the shenanigans and murder. Pitt falls in love with a woman. Pitt and Redford go their seperate ways, but before they do Redford has made clear his belief that one should never stick their neck out. Pitt then gets caught by Chinese authorities trying to save his woman. I'll leave the rest for you to enjoy. I recommend SPY GAME...more info
- The CIA - An Inside look!
If you like spy movies, this is a good movie to consider. Although the movie was made in 2001, It takes you back to the 70's and to many troubled places around the world. One minute you're in Honk Kong, then in divided Germany, the next, you're in Beirut at the time of the Lebanese civil war where a big part of the movie took place. It reminds us of the Berlin Wall and It shows some of the Palestinian people horrible living condition in refugee camps in Lebanon. It also shows the CIA involvement in Mideast assasinations.
Robert Redford is the main player in the movie. He appeared much older to me than one of his older spy movie (and one of my favorite) from 1975 " Three Days of the Condor". He also proved that he is still a great actor.
The movie is very entertaining and it keeps you thinking and guessing as more and more information is revealed about "Bishop" (Brad Pitt) and the intention of the CIA to deal with "the problem or crisis at hand".
THE DVD: (HD DVD)
This HD DVD has a great transfer, and the picture quality is excellent! The audio is also great!
There are some extra feautures such as deleted scenes, however, none is in high definition or even in good standard DVD quality. I would only only rate the extras one star.
Overall, Great Movie, Great Quality HD DVD Transfer. Recommended...more info
This is a great thriller and keeps you engaged in nonstop excitement. Robert Redford at his best....more info
- Operation Dinner Out!
Phenomenally well done spy/suspense film which keeps you captivated the entire film as to what is going on, where the movie is going, and how all the pieces are going to fit together in the end.
You have Robert Redford, playing a veteran field operative for the CIA named Nathan Muir, whom has one last day of work for the bureau before he retires. He's tipped off by outside sources that something has gone wrong with his protoge Tom Bishop, played by Brad Pitt, whom is a another CIA field operative whom has been recruited and trained by Nathan Muir. Muir arrives at work on his last day of work to figure out what exactly is going on.
During the next 24 hours, Nathan Muir pieces together that Tom Bishop has be captured by the Chinese for espionage and will be executed within 24 hours if the USA doesn't claim him. The upper tier of management at the CIA isn't going to claim/rescue Tom Bishop. Instead, letting him be executed by the Chinese because the U.S. President is about to visit China the following week regarding future trade between the U.S. & China.... It is the CIA's take that claiming Bishop will look badly on the US and ruin any future trade with China. To make matters worse, Bishop wasn't on any official assignment to China on behalf of the CIA and the US has no idea why he has broken into a Chinese Prison.... So the real question being asked is by the CIA: Is Tom Bishop a rogue agent OR not?
Throughout the rest of the movie we see Nathan Muir using his skills as a field operative within the CIA's headquarters to find out what is going on with Tom Bishop. During this time, we find out how Nathan Muir & Tom Bishop became acquainted and the nature of their relationship, what kind of man each is, through the course of flashbacks that Muir's character relates to a group of upper management whom want to know more about Bishop's character. Muir only tells them as much as they need to know as he plans to rescue Bishop from China before the 24 hour time period once he finds out from upper management where Tom Bishop is being held.
The twists and turns throughout this movie show us how Nathan Muir rescues Tom Bishop and what/why Tom Bishop was doing in China in the first place. It is one fantastic movie that is great to watch every time!...more info
- excellent movie
Redford wow, Pitt wow, picuture a big wow the plot very twiisty and a pleasure ro watch. ...more info
Potential was there in this movie. Whether I was in a bad mood or not, I don't know, but this was sooo slow. I was not captivated by the plot and Brad Pitt was not believable in his role and I didn't feel connected with the story. If you liked movies like Apocalypse Now or even AI you may enjoy it. Patriot Games and The Hunt For Red October were better movies. Far better "Spy" movies are out there. This was well filmed and the production was good....more info
- A Motion Picture Not To Be Judged By Its Cover!
When this movie came out in November 2001, my big brothers took me to see a movie that had Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. "Hmm," I thought, "I'm not sure about this, but it's a free ticket, so what the hell?" Believe me when I say that this movie is so much more complex, intense, and entertaining than it looks. The trailer gives the totally wrong impression of what SPY GAME is about. This is not --- I repeat 'NOT' --- an "action" movie. Instead, SPY GAME takes a thinking-person's knack for clever storytelling, and juices it up with the flashy and quick style seen in many of today's movies. Again, don't let the trailer allow you to judge this film.
Tony Scott's movies have always had that quick-cut, fast-paced, full-force style to them. His brother Ridley Scott is a much better filmmaker; why is that? Because Ridley (THELMA & LOUISE, BLACK HAWK DOWN, ALIEN) has better control of the action and knows when to tone things down. In SPY GAME, Tony Scott finally finds his niche in great filmmaking, where style is complimented by good characters and a terrific story.
Nathan Muir (wonderfully played by Robert Redford)is a CIA operative, who on January 1991, is on his last day before retirement. However, his protege Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt in one of his better roles) is captured in Su Chou Prison in China, while the U.S. and the Chinese are negotiating trade talks.
When Muir learns of Bishop's capture, he races against time to save him from execution. Unfortunately, some CIA investiagtors and bureaucrats aren't as eager because of the aforementioned trade talks. What's fascinating about this setup is that Muir is always one step ahead of the game than those who want to abandon the rogue agent. Instead of this being the "Muir/CIA Showdown" (which we do get some clever exchanges), there is actually a character study underneath it all. As Muir is surrounded in a conference surrounded by his adversaries, pretending to play ball with them, he gives them details about Bishop's past, training, and work ethic. The storytelling is slightly faulty, because there are a few moments where Muir seems to be talking to the audience instead of the characters. But this is where Tony Scott's energy saves these awkward moments, because Scott knew this much dialogue needs good camerawork & actors to keep us interested. Scott invested enough time in the characters as well as the audience's thirst for high-stakes thrills.
Robert Redford hasn't really changed his acting that much since BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, but that's because he's smart enough to know his limitations. He isn't a chameleon who creates characters; Redford just uses his natural gifts to embody the role with his own mannerisms.
Brad Pitt also doesn't do anything groundbreaking, but is also in the right frame of mind that Redford is. Pitt possesses the charm of a gifted agent but the brash ego of a rookie. The supporting cast is also simply acting the way we expect reliable character actors to perform --- they don't try to steal the show and trust the filmmakers. This approach allows Scott's filmmaking style to drive the thriller at its best pace.
Pitt and Redford have a chemistry that makes us believe that Muir actually takes pride in Bishop's skills, while needing to maintain discipline and control over his new job. Pitt's counter-reactions to Muir's mind-games give both men a texture not often seen in espionage flicks. SPY GAME involves the morality of the two men, rather than preach about more universal themes.
I hate flashback sequences, but these are impressive and never slow down; much credit belongs to Redford because his narrative voice keeps things going. The present-time Muir/CIA games are very much like a poker game. Without giving away too much, the tactics involve simple tools like pagers, ambiguous dialogue, and keen eyes. There's no violence, or anything that forces us to suspend disbelief. Some neat moments include Muir quickly glancing at key data, and somehow getting information with the vaguest of words. Another is the CIA digging up his office, when Muir has no reasonable excuse for getting out of the interrogation. This movie is never a bore, and is very exciting considering most of it centers around a conference room.
In addition to the strong acting & directing, one of my favorite aspects of this movie is Harry Gregson-Williams's music. His score includes some cool beats during the spy montages, and some powerful chords during those dramatic moments of betrayal and reflection. Of all of the music I've heard from him (he's most famous for Michael Bay pictures ARMAGEDDON and THE ROCK), I easily call this his best work.
I really dig this movie! It's not perfect, and maybe it does borrow some aspects that other thrillers (and maybe Bruckheimer pictures) have done before. But this is a top-notch film with a strong presentation that keeps it moving. Because SPY GAME is energetic and focused at the same time, it's an exceptional film that warrants a purhcase!
FINAL NOTE - The DVD features are all good. There are some behind-the-scenes features that are worth checking out, and the Deleted Scenes (w/ or w/out Commentary) are actually good. I usually don't like Deleted Scenes, because it's obvious why they shouldn't be there. But these actually quite good, and would've added another layer that would've enhanced the story. An excellent movie got a grade-A DVD treatment!...more info
- overlong music video...
This film is so full of unnecessary camera shakes, pans, dollies and zooms that after a while it all becomes a rather pointless eye exercise. Also the fast paced music never stops for an instant, which seems to be the copyright of so many bad action-thriller movies cropping up recently . If it was a 5 min. music video this I could endure, but at 2 hours it made me want to puke. Also I tried not to fall asleep watching more than half an hour of pointless and boring close up shots of ugly blokes in a darkened meeting room staring and squinting at each other, at documents etc. The totally unlovable character of Robert Redford made it impossible for me to identify with him, while Brad Pitt was same as always, not bad, not outstanding....more info
- Outstanding thriller
This is by far the best thriller I've watched in a long time. It keeps you wondering till the end what turn the plot will take next and how the main character ( Robert Redford ) will deal with it. Both Redford and Pitt's character's are well developed, there are very good dialogue scenes and one really gets a feeling of involvement with an intelligence agency's inside politics. Ok so the ending is a bit sci-fi, but I rate this one 5-stars because I can't remember a movie that kept me wondering for the whole two hours and which I was eager to review once I had seen it first time in the movie theater. Don't miss it!...more info
- A must-own for any Tony Scott fan
Ridley's younger brother has created his own brand of of action movie (Enemy of the State, Man on Fire). Thanks to Scott's distinctive cinematography, pacing, music and production values, Spy Games succeeds despite the mildly self-conscious performances of the leads, Redford and Pitt. In Spy Game, Scott does his typically masterful job creating a sense of place recreating Viet Nam, Cold War Berlin and the Middle East in the early 1980's. His attention to small details and the choice of supporting actors make repeated viewings a pleasure....more info
- Great movie but Robert Redford is looking his age
Great performances in this film. Robert Redford gives his usual excellent performance. Brad Pitt is also excellent in this spy thriller. The transfer to dvd is very good unlike some I have. I thought is was well done with a good plot.
Buy it!...more info
- Good mix of guy movie + chick flick..
The story is about Nathan Muir (Robert Redford), who is a CIA agent on the last day of his job at the 'farm'. He finds out from a fellow agent that one of his protege', Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) has gone missing in China, presumably on a mission and is captured by the chinese authorities. The senior group at CIA call on Nathan Muir to interview him about Tom Bishop's character so that they can paint a picture of him as a rogue agent with a private agenda, the movie revolves around a series of flashbacks of how Nathan trains Tom Bisop after he discovers him as a scout sniper for a mission, in Vietnam. One of the dialogs at this point was made by Brad Pitt's character when asked about how they put food on the table , "No Sir, we had a safeway back home" and then eventually for certain reasons, which i don't want to divulge, they are forced to part ways and how Nathan gets Tom out forms the rest of the story.
Its fast paced, thrilling, has a romantic angle, with Tom Bishop's love interest in the film, played by Catherine McCormack. Its a very well made spy thriller and rivals on TV movie marathon re-runs only next to 'Clear and Present Danger'.
Good movie to add in your collection.
"We need this problem, like we need a third tit"
"you using the other two?"
- Not what I expected
I was expecting more of a thriller. Spy Game turned out to be far more cerebral than action-packed. It offered interesting insight into the CIA, foreign relations and espionage. Redford and Pitt gave solid performances as mentor and protege in a world where the choices are neither clear nor easy. As someone else said, this is a movie you need to watch carefully, otherwise it is easy to get lost....more info
- Convoluted But Entertaining
Tony Scott continues his reign of mediocrity with this difficult but sometimes rewarding thriller about a retiring CIA operative (Robert Redford) who is forced to go above heads and conduct some covert business of his own when his superiors decide that an imprisoned marksman agent gone rogue (Brad Pitt) is possibly expendable. Redford tells a panel of his bosses stories of training Pitt, assisting him in the field and getting his [tail]out of some serious trouble, and herein lies the film's major obstacle: the muddled screenplay crams too much in, with one rambling adventure after another, and Scott's frenetic visual style tries hard to give the plot some consistency but ends up doing quite the opposite; it's obvious after a point that he is trying to hide the fact that the story isn't about anything in particular, and for this reason the film's length will seem tedious to some viewers. Redford is excellent and completely watchable in the lead, but Pitt's character is so shallow (and the script has no idea what to do with him) that though he performs superbly he's never really all that sympathetic....more info
- Better Than Your Average
In general, "Spy Game" is a pretty standard Hollywood espionage flick. The plot is improbable, the dialogue a little overdetermined, many of the characters [typical]. Yet, despite its faults, I find it to be quite a bit better than the average spy flick. The set-up in itself is interesting: Robert Redford's character becomes something of a spy within the CIA; the line between good guy and bad guy is not so easily drawn here. The script is merely serviceable, but the film creates an adrenaline-soaked atmosphere through its jumpy camera-work and unexpected ... twists. Unlike most action movies, it gives you something to think about, a ... situation to consider and question. Plus, how many big Hollywood flicks have a juicy, sly Charlotte Rampling cameo? That in itself deserves credit....more info
- Smart Viewing in style
The movie has been 'BOURNE' out (pun intended) in previous critque's but, HD gives some great visual-gasm's to the system.
If your designs are to have a story that takes intellect and marries to it great acting and visuals to match....Here's your winner!...more info
- Highly recommended - thinking man's action film
This is a well written, well acted, very well filmed movie that we have enjoyed multiple times. The extras are well done and enjoyable.
There are two aspects to this movie that add particular value.
1. Having the main thread of the movie told at the CIA offices permits very quick visual and texture changes when the scene switches as Redford's character reminiscences about the action he's been involved in. This definitely helps with the pacing.
2. The fact that Redford's character anticipates his opponents' actions and plans for them. One of my favorite lines - 'When did Noah build the Ark? - BEFORE the rain, before the rain'.
- Redford as foxy old dog fun to see
I liked this movie more after watching it multiple times. It's not the kind of movie you necessarily enjoy watching over and over, but it is nice to watch after you've already unraveled the sometimes-confusing plot so that you can enjoy the show.
The movie follows two storylines, the first a flashback involving the relationship of CIA Field Manager Redford and his recruit-turned-prot¨¦g¨¦ Pitt. The current storyline involves Redford's efforts to save Pitt from the depths of a Chinese prison while the rest of the CIA is working to bury him.
Redford's character is pretty cool, with the street-smarts of a Harry Bosch combined with a slick comfort in the presence of administrators that Bosch could never muster. He is basically trying to redeem himself for a lifetime of morally ambiguous CIA dealings by putting his career and even freedom on the line on Pitt's behalf.
The camera cuts are gritty and fast-paced, without being so MTV'ed out that they distract from the story. The story is simple and intriguing, with the most pleasure coming from Redford's little tricks that, on the one hand, are so old fashioned that they wouldn't seem out of place in a quaint gumshoe noir, but on the other hand are just clever enough to be believable in foiling the CIA.
The movie bogs down in some of the flashbacks in my opinion, and the cuts from present to past and back again get slightly confusing if you're not paying close attention. ...more info
- more style than substance but still fun to watch
Spy Game is a good-looking movie, in the sense that the settings are interesting and that it's fun to watch Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. naturally, the film works best when Muir (Redford) and Bishop (Pitt) are in the same scenes, as when Muir indoctrinates Bishop into the world of a CIA operative or later during their falling out when Muir thinks Bishop has compromised his position by falling in love with an unsuitable woman. Unfortunately, the film didn't make the case for love and the character of the woman is extremely underwritten. Also, Redford tells a lot of the story in flashbacks as he's sitting in a conference room with his sinister CIA bosses, but I thought this muddied the drama and confused the action without adding much.
Two commentary tracks are available with the dvd -- one by the director and one by the producers. Reading between the lines of various comments, it seems obvious they had two high maintenance actors on their hands! ('Brad wanted to reshoot this scene,' 'Robert wanted to do this.' etc etc) Must have been a lot of fun! Still, these are two charismatic actors and it's fun to watch them work. (Do you suppose Pitt had something to say about the slo-mo shots of him framing the pivotal scene of carnage and destruction? -- 'Yes, people are hurt and there are explosions, but let's slow it down here so we can see that Brad is really emotionally distraught -- and his hair is blowing so nicely in the wind!')
Extra features also include icons that appear and allow you to access trivia or comments while the film plays; a trailer; a list of CIA requirements; a three minute script-to-storyboard featurette; 5 deleted scenes; and 4 alternate scenes, including an alternate ending. These are fun to watch, but also should act as a warning that there was not a coherent vision of how this film should play out. In addition, all three commentators spend a fair bit of time explaining the plot -- not a good sign either! Though I have to say that I enjoyed the film more after listening to the commentary tracks, ultimately it was not worth the effort. Audio tracks are in English or French, and subtitles are English closed-captioning or Spanish....more info
- A CLASSY, ENTERTAINING SPY FLICK
Director Tony Scott should take the main bow for SPY GAME, an intellectual spy flick and primarily a director's film. With locations shot in Beirut, Lebanon, Berlin, Budapest, Casablanca, England, Haifa, Hong Kong, and Prague, a certain color and realism is guaranteed. And, sure enough, the photography and direction are in capable hands as is the script, which seems flawless. You gals out there might note that BOTH Robert Redford and Brad Pitt star in this slick tale of the CIA spy game. (Yummy!) Some reviewers seem concerned about an emotional flatness between Pitt and Redford but, hey, these guys are trained killers or at least serious craftsmen in the field. You feel too much as a CIA agent, you forfeit your life, my friend. So let's get real, okay? And very real is SPY GAME. The plot is intricate and layered as a wedding cake. CIA veteran Nathan Muir (Redford) is retiring and on his last day at his CIA job (what a waste of talent!) and his impulsive younger protege Tom Bishop (Pitt) is being held in a Chinese prison about to be executed for a botched rogue operation. How Muir saves the day for Bishop from long distance, being watched and questioned by his superiors in Washington who would rather see Bishop be executed by the Chicoms, is the crux of the story. It is a kind of mind over matter thing, the cleverness of Muir's efforts in contrast with the physicality of Bisphop's failed operation. Scenes of Bierut street fighting, flashbacks to Vietnam, takes inside CIA offices, all are very well done. SPY GAME is a classy, entertaining spy flick with good production values. Again, hats off to the director....more info
- Well worth your money
Spy Game kept me glued to the set from start to finish. The movie was fast paced and didn't stay stuck in one place for too long, starting in China, and moving through South Vietnam, East Berlin, and civil-war torn Beirut, all the while making periodic pitstops back at Langley, VA. Seasoned CIA operative Redford uses his field experience against present-day supertechnology to ruse his overconfident and underestimating superiors in order to save his friend/co-agent from Chinese execution. The bulk of the movie takes us through their missions together, illustrating the ethics, trials, and blowback of counterintelligence work.
Though I'm positive only the tip of the iceberg is adequately covered in reflecting the ethical downside of espionage, the movie (and Redford) do a good job of justifying such policies as the "lesser evil". After a mission in East Berlin goes awry, ending in the assumed death of a traitorous contact, Pitt plays the role of a naive, hesitant public with excellence. Reflecting their abandonment of his German contact Schmidt, Pitt argues, "Don't tell me it's for the greater good!" Redford shoots back, "That's exactly what it's for". As Pitt does his job reluctantly, all the while intentionally ignoring blatant truths (like his German contact was probably a Soviet spy, or that his British girlfriend was a radical, Hizballah-affiliated terrorist), Redford nails the necessary role of the in-your-face nasty truth about the world we live in, a reality that Pitt and many others simply cannot stomach.
Two things I didn't like, which explains only a four star rating...
1) It's doubtful that any CIA agent is either so stupid or so blinded by puppydog love that he'd attempt a highly improbable prison rescue (in China, of all places) for a woman he'd been dating for a month...over a decade ago. And had he miraculously succeeded, how would his superiors handle the news of him executing an uncleared mission into a hostile country to rescue a known terrorist with ties to radical Shi'ite extremists? How would that go over with our closest ally Britian, knowing a CIA agent risked life, limb, and world war to rescue a British terrorist? How would Americans feel if news surfaced of an MI6 agent breaking into a Jordanian prison to free an al-Qaeda terrorist? I'm sorry, but I felt absolutely no pity whatsoever for that woman's plight, nor did I buy her self-righteous "apology" to Pitt about the consequences of her terrorism. I would've been happy to let her rot in the bowels of that prison forever, if no other reason than to let her realize how opponents of her precious Hizballah-supporting Iranian dictators feel.
Also, what happens to the Chinese agents posing as doctors that help Pitt? Are they left in the prison?
2) While I support Redford's decision to help his fellow agent escape the prison, what the movie doesn't reveal is that once it became clear to the CIA exactly what happened, Redford would not be driving merrily off the compound and into retirement. He'd be arrested immediately and charged with dozens of felonies, ranging from compromising classified material to fraudulently ordering a military strike on hostile foreign soil.
Overall though, great movie with some serious lessons that more than a few people today need to learn....more info
- Spy Game
Took a little longer than expected, but not by much, it was in good condition....more info
- OLD FASHIONED SPY THRILLER
A curiously uninvolving spy flick, possibly because Redford is way past his prime and occupies far too much screen time. Pitt isn't bad as a young spy learning the game. It is not clear to me why this particular film was made, however. It has absolutely no relevance in this post-Cold War era. Older audiences might find it more edifying....more info
- Well, at Least the Porsche Looks Cool
Couple of problems: First, one cannot help compare the movie with Redford's "Three Days of the Condor" which was about a thousand times better.
Second, I agree with the other reviewers who can't understand why we should feel sympathy with Brad Pitt because he's fallen in love with a British leftist who is openly sympathetic to terrorists, if not one herself. And for that reason, they can't understand why Redford would risk everything he has - life savings, career, et.al. - to save him. Wasn't Redford's character right the first time?
Ask yourself this: if the British terrorist had not been played by the beautiful, soft skinned Catherine McCormack but rather by Roseanne Barr, would you sincerely believe that she was worth breaking out of prison? Call that remark cruel if you like, but remember that it's Tony Scott who's truly insulted the viewers by suggesting that murderous, terrorist tactics are not so bad so long as the girl supporting them looks good and says things like, "and I have to live with that."
Still, the scene at the end with Redford racing the vintage Porsche off the CIA grounds is pretty cool. But cool scenes, cool cars and cool sportcoats can't complete a film....more info
- Good, but boring at parts
It starts off pretty good, alot of action and such, but the times when Robert Redford is not having flash backs it gets extremly boring. They also make it a little more complicated then it has to be....more info
- Not in a class with "The French Connection"
Ok, I have a real dislike for Robert Redford but spy movies are my favorate, this one was even honest, no shoot up spies like in some movies. I've also been weerly of seeing anything with Brad Pitt since Legends of the Fall but he's building his stock back up with me. For the most part this movie is ok, I'd watch it again I just wish they wouldn't have put Robert Redford in it....more info
- YOu really must pay attention to this one...
otherwise you'll get lost. There are a lot of flashbacks, fast edition, fast dialogues.
But the result is a film that makes you think, not s stupid action thriller full of plot holes.
Tony Scott uses his trademark skills here, mainly in the action sequences. It's great.
The main flaw, in my opinion, where the main characters themselves. The guys are plain killers. Ok, some may say hard times nedd hard decisions, but the fact is that one can simply not care about the characters. If Pitt's character (Tom Bishop) was executed in that Chinese prison, I would not lose my sleep. The same goes for if Redford'c character (Nathan Muir) was get by his CIA mates....more info
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