Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Spy Game

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual situations, nothing explicit or exploitive
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking and smoking
Violence/Scariness:Tense scenes, including bloody torture
Diversity Issues:Strong woman and minority characters
Movie Release Date:2001

This is not one of those movies where the spies wear elegant dinner jackets, drink martinis, use cool gadgets and have sex with gorgeous women in between huge explosions and shoot-outs. There is no hidden fortress, secret formula, or missing computer chip. Instead, it is a smart thriller for grown-ups about spies who manipulate their “assets” (sources) with brains, not explosives. And it is about loyalty, politics, and whether the ends ever justify the means.

It begins in 1991 with a failed rescue attempt at a Chinese prison. Nathan Muir (Robert Redford) is awakened on his last day working for the CIA by a phone call from Hong Kong. An agent has been captured. We learn through a series of flashbacks that the agent, Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) was originally recruited and trained by Muir. We trace their relationship through the world’s trouble spots from Viet Nam to Beirut as they go from teacher/student to partners and then as they cannot work together any more. Bishop, code named “Boy Scout” for his true blue values, likes being one of the good guys. He likes to keep his promises. He is willing to bend rules, but only if he has to. Nathan is not sure he knows what the rules are anymore, beyond the one he tells Tom is unbreakable – save your money so that you can retire someplace warm and never spend any of it to protect an asset.

The CIA has 24 hours before Bishop is executed. Muir spends much of that time in a taped and transcribed meeting with top officials who are more concerned about maintaining trade negotiations with China than with rescuing a spy who does not seem to have been on any authorized mission. The rest of the time, he is using everything he has accumulated in his career – his experiences, his relationships, his tricks of the trade, and even his money – to get the Boy Scout back home.

Redford and Pitt (who worked together on “A River Runs Through It”) are both marvelous, their different acting styles working well to help them portray the differences in their characters. Director Tony Scott (“Top Gun” and “Crimson Tide”) shows his usual expert touch in action stories about men who have to think quickly while they struggle with problems of loyalty and independence. The scenes in Beirut are particularly unsettling and tragic.

Parents should know that the movie has very strong language and a lot of violence, including a brutal beating. We see the victims of violence, including amputees and dead bodies. There is a mild and inexplicit sexual situation.

Families who see this movie should talk about how people develop rules when their work involves breaking traditional rules. How can you tell when you stop being one of the good guys? How do they know that the rules they are breaking are in aid of a greater good? Who was betrayed in the movie?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the Tom Clancy movies, The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games.



Previous Posts

The Top 100 Animated Films of All Time: The Animators Pick
Time Out New York asked top animators to pick the greatest 100 animated films of all time.  All the Disney, Pixar, and Miyazaki classics are there, plus some surprises.  I have some disagreements, but am entirely in favor of the #1 pick. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAykOz1gWi4[/you

posted 3:59:23pm Apr. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Daniel Licht, Composer of "Dexter"
Daniel Licht composed the music for "Dexter" as well as two of the "Silent Hill" video games and films including "Permanent Midnight" and "Stephen King's Thinner."  He talked to me about the difference between composing for thrillers and comedy and why he hit his guitar with a frying pan. Tell m

posted 8:00:40am Apr. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Happy Earth Day! Movies About Our Planet
Celebrate Earth Day with some of these great films about our planet, its beauties and its challenges: 1. An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary makes a powerful case for the dire effects of climate change -- and an even more powerful case for our ability to prevent more damage

posted 7:00:55am Apr. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Smithsonian: Earth Day Movies for Kids
The Smithsonian has a terrific list of movies for kids about the environment -- great films for Earth Day or any day. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgT_xT587MY[/youtube]

posted 4:53:58pm Apr. 21, 2014 | read full post »

New on DVD: The Classic King Family Specials
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEk4ae0KGI0[/youtube] King Family's Classic Television Specials Collection Volume One comes out on DVD tomorrow. It is a lot of fun to visit the wonderfully wholesome King Family -- the six singing King sisters and their spouses and children, who all seemed

posted 3:50:54pm Apr. 21, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.