Two ex-government agents turned rival industrial spies have to be at the top of their game when one of their companies prepares to launch a major product. However, they distract each other in more ways than one.
Ray works for MI6, Claire for the CIA. She burns him in Dubai. Jump ahead five years: he sees her in Grand Central and confronts her. Both now work in industrial security for corporate giants whose CEOs hate each other. Flashbacks fill us in: is it coincidence that he sees her in Grand Central? In about a week, one of the firms is going to announce a revolutionary product. Under the guise of helping that corporation's rival, can Ray and Claire work their own theft and find an independent buyer? To work together, using the corporate rivalry to their advantage, they would have to trust one another - difficult, if not impossible. Or, is one playing the other? Written by
Greetings again from the darkness. The very imaginative and quite funny opening credit sequence sets the stage for a fun frolic through the world of corporate espionage. The only two problems ... it's not that much fun and there is very little frolicking.
Writer/Director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) just tries to be too clever and cute for his own good. After landing two perfect leads and two of the best character actors of this generation, Gilroy offers up a tedious, bungled mess that is really never that clever and certainly gives the feeling of holding back these four fine actors.
The multi-frame look, non-linear time line, repeated dialogue and smirky exchanges between Clive and Julia are just some of the clichéd tricks used to make this seem more interesting and complicated than it really is.
Clive Owen shows again that he would have made a sterling James Bond (nothing against Daniel Craig, who is excellent). Instead of his usual dark, brooding roles, he seems to thrive when he can show a bit of emotion. Luckily for the audience, we are only subjected to one of Julia Roberts' patented cackles that causes every man to cringe. For her, she is quite reserved, but just can't pull off the smartest person in the room role. Sadly, the great Tom Wilkinson is pretty much wasted in his role as one of the dueling corporate giants. Paul Giamatti, on the other hand, has the best scene in the film as he delivers over-the-top arrogance in his stockholders speech.
Must also mention Tom McCarthy, not so much for his role (he is the guy handcuffed in the meeting room), but just because I have become such a fan of his directorial skills ... The Station Agent and The Visitor.
If you are after a dime store version of Michael Clayton or a mostly non-funny Cary Grant type film, then this is the film for you. To me, it just doesn't deliver the quips, twist or turns that it pretends to.
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