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Fascinating and Complex but Deeply Reactionary Film
This film contains one of William Hurt's best performances and anybody who is an acting fan in general or a William Hurt fan in particular will enjoy it.
I thought that the ideology of the film was quite complex, but ultimately dishonest and reactionary. The film wants to convince us that Robert Hanson was only a strange mentally-ill man who betrayed his family, friends, religion, colleagues and country. They have little sympathy for his painful situation.
If one looks at the facts that the story presents, instead of the way the movie presents them, this is clearly not the case. Hanson has to choose between his family, friends and religion and his government and job. He chose his family, friends and religion over his job and his government. He was simply a very intelligent man in an incredibly difficult position. If he had not sold secrets to the Soviet Union and Russians, he could not have afforded the lifestyle to maintain his family, friends and religion. His alternative was to lose his job and everything he loved most in life. His choice can be seen as incredibly courageous on some level.
The producer Lawrence Schiller and the writer Norman Mailer are very rich men who do not have to worry about making money every day (as Hanson did).
The film deserves credit for at least raising some quite interesting lines of defense for Hanson. For example, the film brings up the point that it is possible that his actions of helping the Soviets and Russians actually made the world a safer place and saved the world from nuclear catastrophe. The film should have seriously considered that in betraying his country, he may have saved the human race. Instead, the film presents this as merely one more fantasy on the part of Hanson.
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