The true story of Christopher Boyce, a young All-American man whose job as a guard for sensitive documents shatters his faith in his country and leads him to a sometimes comic, sometimes chilling sideline as a spy for the Soviets, aided by his scruffy buddy, Daulton; it can't last, though, and the consequences are tremendous for Boyce and his family.Written by
Dan Hartung <email@example.com>
This motion picture is based on actual real events and a real true life story. See more »
(at around 1 min) The scene where Chris walks into work and several close-ups are shown of incoming telex transmissions has some date discrepancies. The very first telex shown right before Chris walks in the door has a date stamp of March 2nd, 1976 while others in the scene say September 9th, 1974. Also the cipher card he pulls out of the binder that day is marked for September 1st, 1974. See more »
[explaining why he didn't express his unhappiness with the CIA in a more acceptable manner]
It wouldn't have made a difference. I freely chose my response to this absurd world. If given the opportunity, I would have been more vigorous.
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Set in the 1970s Los Angeles, Christopher Boyce has just dropped out of seminary school and returned back home were his father gets him a job where he monitors intelligence documents. His old friend Daulton Lee is a ratty cock drug-dealer, and gets caught in a set-up and must choose between becoming a narc or facing a long stint in prison. When up on bail, he jumps and heads to Mexico City. Chris offers Lee in a partnership to be his messenger to sell secret papers to the Soviet Union embassy in Mexico City, because of the disgrace he feels about the US Government's control over weaker countries to their own gain. But over time the two begin to clash with their motivations and find themselves in something bigger then they had originally intended.
Director John Schlesinger has spun out such films like the respectable "Midnight Cowboy", "Marathon Man", "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Day of The Locust". While "The Falcon and the Snowman" might not be held up that high, there's no question that this sombre espionage drama (inspired by a true incident) is an unjustly overlooked character portrait. Everything about it, is quite a subdued affair with no real grandeur qualities hitting a massive mark. The driving factor of the film has got to be the admirably versatile lead performances of Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn as the two ambitious young lads Chris and Daulton. Penn is especially good with his uneasy intensity, which works well off Hutton's superbly cool-and-collected turn. What starts off as easy, we watch the situation gradually crumble, as the two amateurs find themselves really out of their league. The strongly detailed and symbolic (predatory behaviour) plot mainly centres on the pair's relationship and that of their reasoning's for their actions, which eventually shows us the knotty developments that led to their downfall. The plan opens up like a wound to never properly heal, due to Daulton's drug addiction, which really makes him go off the rails and leaves Chris to pick up all the slack. The searing political aspect is there, but it focus on the themes of idealism (Boyce) and greed (Lee) to get its point across. Both don't mix and results show. Suspense is justified through its stimulating pot-boiling script and character interactions then that of any visual gimmicks. Action is very little, but still there's a pressure induced style to Schlesinger's assured and realistically dark 'n' gritty direction. Pacing is mostly well handled, although some sequences do seem to wallow on for too long, but however it grips you as it plays on its authentically paranoid tone to slowly build up to an exploding tight latter end. Adeptly fleshed into the technical production is an airily harrowing music score and professionally poignant cinematography. The supporting cast are exceptionally fine with Pat Hingle, Lori Singer, David Suchet, Boris Leskin, Jerry Hardin and Joyce Van Patten. Also look out for Michael Ironside in a tiny part as a FBI agent.
A mostly outstanding spy-film that benefits largely from talented lead performances and by not playing the usual stakes. It's more an emotional ride, then a complex one of twists. Recommended.
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