Spy Game

Deal Score0
Deal Score0

When a top-secret, unauthorized mission goes awry, CIA agent Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) is captured—and sentenced to die. With just 24 hours to get him out alive, Bishop’s boss, Nathan Muir (Robert 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!”… More >>

Spy Game

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  1. the first time i saw this movie i was surprised by the excellent job, now i am happy to watch it in hd
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. Those that enjoy a nice spy thriller should find this one compelling. The story isn’t new, but Robert Redford and Brad Pitt are a good team, and there are enough twists to keep your interest. Redford intially mentors Pitt at the CIA, but then follows his career as a spy. When Pitt is caught in a trap, Redford tries to help him escape. Good effects and production values make it worth at least a rental, but the acting and story may implore you to buy it. I didn’t find the picture and sound so dramatically different to warrant buying this in Blu-ray. I think most people interested in this movie will be satisfied enough with the standard version. If you enjoyed this catch The Bourne Trilogy (The Bourne Identity | The Bourne Supremacy | The Bourne Ultimatum) [Blu-ray].

    CA Luster
    Rating: 4 / 5

  3. I am not a great action movie fan – but I will watch almost anything associated with Robert Redford, whose “Three Days of the Condor” and “All the President’s Men” are among my all-time favorites; as is “A River Runs Through It,” his first collaboration with Brad Pitt. So, I figured, with these two in co-starring roles I couldn’t really go wrong with “Spy Game”; and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

    Told from a 1991 perspective – two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the CIA changed from an agency run by operatives with field experience to one run by “suits” – “Spy Game” flashes back to the cold war, when American politics’ overriding goal was to outmaneuver the Russian-controlled communist block; although Middle Eastern politics eventually did add more complexity. (Shot before, but released after September 11, 2001, as director Tony Scott and producers Douglas Wick and Marc Abraham note on the DVD’s commentary tracks, the WTC attack had some effect on the editing process). The story begins with CIA operative Tom Bishop (Pitt)’s capture during an unauthorized rescue attempt in a Chinese prison, resulting in his former supervisor Nathan Muir (Redford)’s summons, on his last day in office, to a meeting of the agency’s top brass, for an account of their operations between 1975 (their first meeting in Vietnam) and 1985 (their last operation in Beirut). However, already tipped off to Bishop’s capture by an old confidant in the U.S. embassy in Hong Kong, as Muir gives his report his suspicion is quickly confirmed that his information won’t be used to save Bishop but to construe a reason to let the Chinese execute him. So it is left to Muir, several thousand miles away, to come to his former protege’s aid; and in so doing, break all his rules of survival: Put away some money to retire in a warm spot, never touch that money for anyone, never risk your life or career for an outsider, and if an agent goes “off the reservation” (engages in an unauthorized operation), don’t go after him trying to pull him out.

    Of course, most of this has been done before; in the aforementioned Redford movies, countless other celluloid tales of the past 50 years and the novels of writers who have built entire careers on this kind of material, from John le Carre to Tom Clancy and Frederick Forsyth. But “Spy Game” was directed by Tony Scott, who, like his brother Ridley, has already left his mark on the genre (see “Enemy of the State” and “Crimson Tide”) and, with his arts and advertising background, understands that action movies are about visuals at least as much as about plot and character development: weak editing and camerawork will sink an action thriller as assuredly as weak acting. And Scott’s direction is spot-on, in his choice of camera angles, movement and even coloring (providing every chapter with a unique color scheme), as well as his editing, so fast-paced that there are several details you only pick up on in your second or third viewing. Even in the largely static scenes in the CIA conference room, thanks to numerous small tricks, great dialogue and a cast of outstanding actors – including Stephen Dillane as Muir’s intra-agency opponent Harker and Larry Bryggman as CIA vice-director Folger – Scott never loses the viewer’s interest.

    I do have a few issues with “Spy Game” – leaving aside that, as in most spy flicks, there are some sequences where I have to suspend just a bit too much of my disbelief (like the East Berlin sequences of the operation used to set up American mole Anne Cathcart [Charlotte Rampling] and parts of Muir’s rescue operation for Bishop), I think it is a pity that a director/producer team otherwise so focused on authenticity didn’t realize how many people would remember Robert Redford’s looks in films like the above-mentioned ones, i.e. from the mid-1970s, coinciding with this movie’s Vietnam and Berlin episodes; for although Redford has definitely gained in class and authority with his growing number of facial lines, which well behoove Tom Bishop’s mentor, arguably there should have been at least some visible age difference between Muir’s 1975 and 1991 looks. And just as an aside, from a native Berliner: Guys, much as I applaud your choice to substitute nightly Budapest streets for those of cold-war East Berlin, you shouldn’t also have filmed the rooftop scene there, because neither the city’s overall look nor its topography pans out to those who actually knew Berlin then. (Not to mention the “vopos”‘ obvious Hungarian accents and a few other details I won’t go into here.)

    But overall this movie is certainly a cut above the rest of its class, due to great directorial work as much as that of Redford, Pitt and Catherine McCormack as Elizabeth Hadley, the woman who finally comes between them in Beirut: Redford as the inscrutable, controlling master spy – whose past is, unlike in the original screenplay, kept suitably ambiguous -, Pitt as the young gun, aptly codenamed “Boy Scout,” who is not above exploiting “assets” for an operation’s sake but does fall in love with the wrong woman at last, and McCormack as the tough, no-frills activist whose feelings for Bishop ultimately endanger not only him but also herself. – Last but not least, Harry Gregson-Williams’s soundtrack deserves special mention: With an excellent blend of classic rock tunes (Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” and Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms” … where are these on the soundtrack CD???) and a score alternating between middle eastern and Asian melodies, a boy soprano (Bishop & Hadley’s love theme) and techno grooves, it is always in tune with the action and provides a perfect frame for the movie’s voyage from Langley to Vietnam, Berlin, Beirut and China. This may not be one of film history’s all-time greatest moments – but it is a well-crafted thriller and definitely worth watching if you’re looking for some action.

    Also recommended:

    Three Days of the Condor

    Sneakers (Collector’s Edition)

    The Recruit

    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    Smiley’s People

    The Day of the Jackal

    The Fist of God

    Shibumi: A Novel

    A River Runs Through It (Deluxe Edition)
    Rating: 4 / 5

  4. Nathan D. Muir (Robert Redford) is retiring from the CIA today. However, he has learned that the agent that he mentored (Brad Pitt)is to be executed as a common criminal in a Chinese prison. I will be in 24 hours. The CIA is suspicions but always a step or two behind.

    I am not normally a fan of Redford as he has a tendency to twist films around for his own political agenda as he did with “Three Days of the Condor.” However, this film is exceptional in all things, pacing, dialog, and visuals among them.

    The constant flashbacks and voice over is annoying but it is the only way to get through the story in time and preserve a little mystery on the way.

    I have seen the film a few times and can tell you that the even though Blu-ray does not contribute that much that the media is easier to navigate. I also appreciate the voice over commentary by Tony Scott the director.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. I try to review my Blu Rays as a product, but once in awhile the movie seeps through to give it a higher rating.

    Picture: a split. The clarity, depth and color all look good BUT, Universal skimped and decided to not do artifact removal. There is such a quantity of foreign material throughout that it actually detracts from some scenes. Especially the roof top scene where Brad throws the chair. Virtually every frame has someone’s hair, flakes or sweater lint clogging up the white sky. The Tony Scott yellow lens looks good in Blu, but by the end of the film – a big white film wear goes across Redford’s face, followed by a customer asking when I was going to play the Blu to compare (hated to say I was).

    The sound – DTS sounded the same as the DVD, maybe some nice clarity upgrades but I think I was trying hard to find them.

    The special features – same as DVD.

    Menu – they changed it, which sucked for me because I liked the old music and it used to get a customer’s attention as it looped. Now, they cleaned up different scenes and spliced them in with elevator music. Otherwise, the usual left-sided Universal menu and navigation.

    This would be a 3-star Blu for features and DTS with an average picture quality, but it has to go up one for being an awesome movie.
    Rating: 4 / 5

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