Laconic and self-contained, Edward Wilson heads CIA covert operations during the Bay of Pigs. The agency suspects that Castro was tipped, so Wilson looks for the leak. As he investigates, he recalls, in a series of flashbacks, his father's death, student days at Yale (poetry; Skull and Bones), recruitment into the fledgling OSS, truncated affairs, a shotgun marriage, cutting his teeth on spy craft in London, distance from his son, the emergence of the Cold War, and relationships with agency, British, and Soviet counterparts. We watch his idealism give way to something else: disclosing the nature of that something else is at the heart of the film's narration as he closes in on the leak. Written by
William Hurt's character, Phillip Allen, is partly based on Allen Dulles, OSS operative and later CIA director during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Contrary to common belief President John F. Kennedy was fascinated with the world of espionage and unconventional warfare, granting the US Special Forces their trademark Green Berets whilst his enthusiasm for the James Bond novels helped to popularize them. However during the CIA's Bay of Pigs operation he refused to allow overt military support for the mission and severely limited the number of air strikes allowed to be flown by the CIA's own aircraft for fear of revealing the US government's role. Both decisions are widely considered to have doomed the entire enterprise to failure from the start. Ironically, Allen Dulles was appointed to the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President Kennedy, Dulles' former boss. Kennedy had fired Allen Dulles as head of the CIA. See more »
When Edward is in Mironov's office, there's a picture of Mironov's family with two daughters. However, this contradicts his legend which states that he has 2 sons (and probably the true Mironov did). It is highly doubtful that he would do such a mistake and nobody would notice that inconsistency. See more »
[first lines, which are repeated with repeated playings of the surveillance video to Edward Jr]
You are safe here with me.
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I wasn't sure that a movie like this could or would still be made and released in this country.
No, it wasn't Mission Impossible 6. It didn't have the overwhelming special effects, chases, explosions and gunfights one might expect in a spy thriller. It didn't need them. Thrilling enough was the exposition of character (imagine that). Plot? Whose real life has ever had a tight plot line? Edward Wilson's life meandered along like many do. In fact, I found it even more interesting because the turns Wilson's life took seemed dictated by his character and not just by his chosen profession.
Courageous choices were made by DeNiro in making this film, by Damon in tackling the role with such coldness and stoicism, and by Jolie in passing on being a movie star in favor of being an actress.
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