On the day that a serial killer that he helped put away is supposed to be executed, a noted forensic psychologist and college professor receives a call informing him that he has 88 minutes left to live.
In an era when the country's first line of defense, intelligence, is more important than ever, this story opens the CIA's infamous closed doors and gives an insider's view into the Agency: how trainees are recruited, how they are prepared for the spy game, and what they learn to survive. James Clayton might not have the attitude of a typical recruit, but he is one of the smartest graduating seniors in the country - and he's just the person that Walter Burke wants in the Agency. James regards the CIA's mission as an intriguing alternative to an ordinary life, but before he becomes an Ops Officer, James has to survive the Agency's secret training ground, where green recruits are molded into seasoned veterans. As Burke teaches him the ropes and the rules of the game, James quickly rises through the ranks and falls for Layla, one of his fellow recruits. But just when James starts to question his role and his cat-and-mouse relationship with his mentor, Burke taps him for a special ... Written by
Ironic this movie's made by Spyglass? Or is it? Isn't there ambiguity there as well?
Nothing is what it seems.
Yes the writers could have gone over their screenplay and given it another one-two and that may have raised the caliber another notch, but this is still good entertainment. It won't change your life, but it will be a well spent couple of hours.
And it's true the movie could in theory have had a more sophisticated (ambiguous) ending, but there comes a time, after wading through all the trollop on the market, that one just sinks back and decides to enjoy a better movie for all it's worth.
And this is such a movie: directed by the capable Roger Donaldson who directed the taut thriller No Way Out and co-authored by a writer on The Natural, this one keeps going at a brisk pace with excellent editing and super soundtrack from Klaus Badelt of POTC1 fame. Farrell - who actually comes off smaller than life what with all the tripe written about him, and that's not a bad thing - and former fashion model Moynahan make the sparks fly. You feel for the protagonists and that's an essential ingredient of any good movie.
But Pacino: he's great at whatever he does but is he fated to have secondary roles now? Bah.
There's a bit of a 'Spy Game' feel to things but there's no shameless copying going on. There just aren't many movies in this genre. And Spy Game doesn't have the thrill and suspense this one has. Yes, you might eventually figure everything out before the denouement, but you won't be upset. And odds are you won't figure everything out anyway - some yes; all of it - no.
As for that ending: some people would perhaps prefer more ambiguity. On several planes. Others would say the ending is ambiguous enough. At least on one plane, perhaps several.
Nothing is what it seems.
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