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
Robert De Niro had a deal with Leonardo DiCaprio, who was interested in playing the film's protagonist Edward Wilson. De Niro planned to shoot the movie in the fall of 2004, but DiCaprio couldn't do it then, because he was making The Departed (2006) for Martin Scorsese. The role ultimately went to Matt Damon, who played DiCaprio's antagonist in The Departed (2006). Both movies were nominated for Oscars. See more »
After about half an hour of the movie when Edward is spying on
Dr. Fredericks at the gathering of the American German Cultural Committee, he searches through a handbag and digs up a membership roster. The title of the list is written both in English and German, but the German translation is atrocious, as if it had been done by translation software. It reads, "The [sic!] Amerikaner German [sic!] die Kulturelle Einrichtung Das Gremium". A reasonable translation, most likely used without article, would simply be "Amerikanisch-deutsches Kulturkomitee". It is highly unlikely that such an institution in which American scholars, not to mention Germans, played a role would fail to use a correct German translation. See more »
Valentin Mironov #2:
Soviet power is a myth. Great show. There are no spare parts. Nothing is working, nothing, it's nothing but painted rust. But you, you need to keep the Russian myth alive to maintain your military industrial complex. Your system depends on Russian being perceived as a mortal threat. It's not a threat. It was never a threat. It will never be a threat. It's a rotted, bloated cow.
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I went into the theatre with little knowledge but that I was going to be watching a film about a man who was one of the founders of the CIA. Expecting this, I thought this movie was outstanding and a mind game from start to finish.
What one has to understand about the movie itself is that it is as complicated as the storyline. It starts out with two different time lines, decades apart and slowly one reaches the other. That in itself can be difficult to follow, but it is well worth the effort to pay attention because if you can leave the theatre understanding what took place, you walk away with a little more knowledge about the human complex.
Because this is a story more about the soul and our humanity than it is about spies and country. Those are just the means by which De Niro uses.
Every actor is placed remarkably well and no more so than Matt Damon himself. It is his acting that gives us Edward Wilson; a man without airs who doesn't compromise. The movie spans over twenty years and fortunately we see those years reflected in most of the characters. Angelina Jolie does the neglected, alcoholic wife superbly. William Hurt and Lee Pace as Richard Hayes both give a wonderful performance taking their character's flaws from subtle to substantial by the end.
Some might wonder how so many actors could be recruited for such small roles, like Alec Baldwin, Michael Gambon, and Joe Pesci, but one only has to see as far as the director to get their answer. Don't let the big names and the anagram CIA get you. This movie is as edgy as it is intricate with twists and turns that take the viewer through the world of trust and the human element. A man like Edward Wilson is just the perfect vessel for the journey.
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