CIA operative Nathan Muir (Redford) is on the brink of retirement when he finds out that his protege Tom Bishop (Pitt) has been arrested in China for espionage. No stranger to the machinations of the CIA's top echelon, Muir hones all his skills and irreverent manner in order to find a way to free Bishop. As he embarks on his mission to free Bishop, Muir recalls how he recruited and trained the young rookie, at that time a sergeant in Vietnam, their turbulent times together as operatives and the woman who threatened their friendship. Written by
When the film was previewed in the summer of 2001, Brad Pitt said that it dealt with blow back from unsuccessful CIA operations and suggested that it might mean America had been the world's leading power for too long. However, after the 9/11 attacks, Pitt was quoted as saying the movie indicated that CIA operatives were needed "now more than ever". See more »
The prison Su Cho seems to be a late edition. You can clearly see that Su Cho is dubbed over. See more »
In the opening credits, many of the credits are each preceded by a jumble of letters flickering on the screen. This may be a reference to the opening credit sequence of one of Robert Redford's earlier spy movies, Sneakers (1992). See more »
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. 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.
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