I just felt like jotting down a few observations. Feel free to read, ignore, enjoy, comment, flame, etc. Last week I watched two spy movies that I enjoyed: Spy Game and Topaz. As my faith in movies has all but vanished (can Lord of the Rings bring it back?) I don't go to movie theaters. But my friends dragged me to see Spy Game. It wasn't bad. I've never been a huge Redford fan (never said I didn't like him either), and he was fine. I always thought Brad Pitt was a fine actor for a Hollywood pretty boy, and he did well here, too. And it was nice seeing that chick from Braveheart again. The story was cool enough and kept me engaged. Not a masterpiece, but didn't make me want to gauge my eyes out. A few days later, I watched my roommate's copy of Alfred Hitchcock's Topaz. Unbeknownst to me before I watched it, it is also about spies. Involving an intriguing story about a French spy on a mission for the US in Cuba, the mystery element is well executed and kept me guessing. The acting is subtle and stylish, without trying too hard to be "cool." An amazingly gorgeous actress played the role of a Cuban anti-Castro intelligence agent. Folks, they don't have women in Hollywood who look like this anymore. What a shame. The thing that hit me about these two films was the stark contrast in direction. Hitchcock took time to develop shots, providing a generous but not wasteful sense of place. The direction and the pacing let me actually watch the film. In Spy Game, everything is fast and shaking, cut scenes and flashes here and there, with lots of "intense" closeups. It's enough to make one of weak constitution get motion sickness, and Spy Game is still better than most of what's out there. FYI, I am only 23, so I'm no old codger when I say, "Slow down!" It's as if current movie makers are saying, "We don't have enough faith in our stories or actors, so we'll shoot everything at you so fast you won't have time to realise what a crummy movie this is." It's like someone pointing behind your shoulder and saying, "What's that?" only to kick you in the groin when you look away. Topaz didn't have to rely on a grand finale action sequence to close the film (not that there's anything wrong with that, in moderation). Instead, it focused on the political / mental power plays of the characters. I'm not blindly comparing the two movies, or saying one is better than the other. Obviously they're from different time periods, different movies, etc. I just think it's interesting to look at two spy movies back to back from two different generations in filmmaking. And to tell you that Topaz is better.