*** Official "SPY GAME" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Crawford, Nov 21, 2001.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Spy Game". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning! If you need to discuss those type of issues, I have designated an Official Discussion Thread which can be found at this link.
    Crawdaddy
     
  2. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    I was already beginning to roll my eyes when the movie had started 10 minutes. With Tony Scott's over the top direction and editing as well as a way overcooked soundtrack, I thought this was going to be cheesily painful. It wasn't. Instead, the movie became a thrilling ride, and all of the above contributed to the roller coaster quality of the movie. As pure entertainment, this is fun.

    Like Scott's other movies such as Enemy of the State or Crimson Tide, you could sink into them and think of the moral ambiguities of the movie. In fact, this quality could potentially have made better and more thought provoking films. But that's not what Scott is trying to do, he's trying to deliver entertainment. As entertainment, Spy Game just doesn't stop, it keeps on delivering. Though the writing on a whole seems too easy and sloopy at times, pouring out ideas that don't go anywhere, the movie just keeps on throwing []i]stuff[/i] at us. Operations, smart ass lines, cat and mouse games, simple character relations, etc., it doesn't stop for a minute, and it's fun. There isn't that much action, in terms of explosions or fights, but there is always something going on in the movie. It also features a handful of big laughs. With Robert Redford, the movie has a smart, crediable, and likable leading man for the "one against consiparacy" mode; Redford is perfect for this movie.

    The movie makes you think that thinking is needed (is that clear?), that's not necessary true. But it is fun to think along the movie and what happens to Brad Pitt's character. So while this isn't really a thinking man's movie, it's uses that seeming quality to pull us in even further. It might have been my enthusiasm for Redford, but I did care for the characters all the way. The climax could have been written better, but by then, the movie already delivered the goods.
     
  3. Mario Bartel

    Mario Bartel Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmmmm, as much as I wanted to like it, I was confused and bored by this film. The lightning-fast set up at the beginning--from China to Hong Kong to Washington and then back again--had my head spinning while the flashback sequences seemed overly long. And despite those drawn out flashbacks, the relationship between Redford's character and Pitt's character never really developed enough in my mind to justify the film's ending.

    The whole time I was watching I couldn't help but think this was a "paycheque movie" for these two fine actors; Redford needed a few bucks as seed money for his next directorial project, and Pitt needed some coin to buy a new bauble for Jennifer. Neither had to extend themselves very much for their roles.

    At least I was able to keep myself amused looking for the bits that were filmed in Vancouver.
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I too liked this film but I'm afraid that people who were confused by the lightening fast unfolding of the storyline will miss some of the story details that explains the actions of certain characters. Therefore, this will affect their viewing pleasure of this film. Due to this failure of losing the audience during it's storytelling, this is the type of film you'll enjoy little more each time you view it as events, situations, and lines of dialogue become clearer to you as you see them again and again. Furthermore, I felt this was Redford's best performance in years. If he directed this film, I believe he would've shown more of the details of the relationship between Redford and Pitt which in tale would explain Redford's action alot better. The whole ending of this film is based on Redford taking care of what little family he had in the world which was Pitt. It's about loyalty and taking care of your own.
    The cat and mouse information exchanges between Redford and his CIA "Suit" colleagues was done very well.

    Crawdaddy
     
  5. JakeR

    JakeR Stunt Coordinator

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    I must admit...

    SPOILER SPACE

    ...that I had every notion Redford was going to hop on a plane to the Chinese prison and bust Pitt out himself. After the entire film, it was a bit anticlimatic to see Pitt for only a few moments, dragged out rather unheroically by faceless spec ops guys. I enjoyed Redford's personal 'spy game' with his idiot superiors, but I felt the movie was leading up to more than what it actually delivered. 2 1/2 stars seems like a reasonable, and common, assessment of the film.

    Tony Scott, however, needs to go away. His ADD-fed, MTV-style of direction may have been presentable in 1986, but it's worthless in 2002.
     
  6. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Well, I rather enjoyed this as a more unique approach to this film than I expected from the trailers.
    I enjoyed the play between both of them, which was very subtle. Watching the confrontation in the coffeeshop (where Redford confronts McCormack in front of Pitt), was some of the most enjoyable dialogue that was about a completely different subject. Watching Redford play that scene was a real treat.
    I was also pretty impressed with the unique structure of the film and it's style. We have a 24 hour ticking clock (which was stylistically reminded to us at key points) braced around a rather lackadasical interrogation. I mean the way that the people in the room casually go about their day while a persons life ticks away was great contrast to the cold reality they were dealing with. I would liken it to the viewing of the camp strike in Patriot Games, where coffee drinking analysts coldly comment on the actions of the commandos.
    The flashback nature of Pitt and Redford's story felt very appropriate, and helped to balance the caper portion of Redford's story and involve Pitt in the majority of the film...something he wouldn't have been if the film was told linearly. I also thought the story was worthy telling. It worked for me both as a process movie (covering how espionage works, although who is to say how accurate it may be), as well as a fair set of moral circumstances that I think covered the challenges their jobs bring.
    As to Tony Scotts style, there were a few unnecessary attempts to jazz up a scene, but it didn't distract me too much. The cinematography was fairly nice, with some interesting filters for different sections.
    All in all, I thought it was a very entertaining movie, and one that was refreshing in it's structure and pacing.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Basically, an nifty movie about a game of cat-n-mouse where the losing the "Spy Game" means Brad Pitt's character dies in a Chinese prison cell for episonage.

    Robert Redford is in fine form as Nathan Muir, a spook officer who's on his last day on the job, and finds that he has to somehow rescue one of his gifted proteges, Brad Pitt's character, Tom Bishop.

    There's a little bit of a lull in the middle, but overall, it's a fun movie for an adult audience who appreciates the spy genre, and how careful manuevering can elicit the correct response from the players in the drama. So, if you like the spy genre, you'll enjoy this film.

    I give it a grade of B, or 3 stars.
     
  8. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

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    Very good flick, except for the hyperkinetic editing. Redford can still charm & Pitt does a solid job -- he seems good in roles where he's beaten to a pulp [​IMG] (as in "Fight Club" & "Snatch").
     
  9. Allen Hirsch

    Allen Hirsch Supporting Actor

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    Tony Scott's style worked for me in this film - I didn't find it too intrusive or showy. It just seemed to "fit" a spy story with a life-or-death deadline. Seems like the DVD soundtrack should be a good one, between music, choppers, etc.

    Redford is good - charming, smart, reasonably understated in his cat and mouse game with the CIA "suits".

    Boy, I keep wondering whether Brad Pitt consciously takes roles where he can counteract his "pretty boy" image by being beaten to a pulp. Fight Club, Snatch, The Mexican, and now Spy Game - is there a current leading man with more ugly facial bruises than Pitt??

    I agree with Crawdaddy - this one requires repeat viewings to catch the meaning of all the dialog. It's easy to get "lost" in the plot and Redford's motivations if you don't follow all the exchanges closely.
     

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