Spy Game Reviews
Tony Scott's Spy Game (2001) is a convoluted espionage narrative with a simple premise. The new CIA spy agent is captured while on a mission since he made a mistake and the older veteran must rescue his pupil somehow. It's how this basic premise is actualized that is interesting.
Tony Scott's direction is exhilarating and direct. While the writing gets muddled, Scott keeps you informed. The editing is very early 2000's jump cut laden with wild cinematography and spinning angles. It's charming with its dated editing, but the footage itself is remarkable.
Robert Redford is the real charmer. His grizzled intellectual spy staving off retirement to help his apprentice spy is endearing. Redford is always the coolest actor in the room and Spy Game is no exception. His cool demeanor and effortless persona make you constantly believe that Redford always have the upper hand. In reality, this also makes it feel like there is little tension as I always believed that Redford had this all covered. Redford brings back his smooth CIA agent character from 3 Days of the Condor with all his charms of Gatsby. He plays up the ingenious planning and diversions with ease.
Brad Pitt is great in his supporting role as a young spy ready to learn from the master of espionage, Robert Redford. Pitt plays off Redford's calm persona against his own brash spirited style. They make a great pair.
I really liked Stephen Dillane as one of the top suits in the CIA, trying to undermine Redford's process. Their cat and mouse dialogue is very funny as are the various tactics Redford uses in Spy Game that only he could pull off.
The film shows the lengths the CIA is willing to go in order to achieve its goals through the dynamic of Redford and Pitt. They represent two different eras and ethics that contrast beautifully in Tony Scott's thriller. Spy Game is a solid film.
Scott's game among spies is more thrilling as a desk job than it is on field. Split into two bits, the Redford part undeniably steals the show with a large margin, whilst Pitt's sequences, no matter how hungry for blazing guns or breathtaking chase sequences or big explosions, feels like empty punches. The dull execution is to be blamed along with a cheesy script that has managed to snatch in every good trick from such genre films; and it is people-pleasing, but there is not an inch of art in this commercial cinema. With cheap camera work that notions its existence of a B grade quality with A grade cast, that are totally misused.
Aforementioned, the ticking clock behind Redford and his tactics that never fails to surprise us along with his every posture on the narration, the writers have chiseled him in every step to be an impenetrable stature that is both easily absorbing and lethal, he lives up to his game. The performance of Redford is quite convincing, if not anything extraordinary, his body language and eye does up the ante along with his sarcastic arguments that has a way out of every door. Pitt, on the other hand, has all the physical work to do, in fact, he never shines on screen on his own merit, not only on performance but in character as well.
He barely supports Redford, he is often manipulated, he is a hot head with no character development that comes off as a pawn staged to ooze sexiness on screen; even though Redford overcomes that limitation, a Porsche does boost him though. Spy Game has petty rules that is equally entertaining as it is incongruent, even its last aspect of getting two stars on screen with an incredible chemistry fails poorly; the sunglasses won't be enough.
What do you know? It was directed by Tony Scott!