Published Nov 01, 2001Spy Game leaves very little behind, failing even to execute on the guileful Hollywood crescendos towards which it continually gravitates. A film built around a strong male relationship, and yet bereft of just such a relationship forget Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Spy Game doesn't even have the same man-to-man depth as Top Gun. Director Tony Scott was seemingly too preoccupied with making the film look flash to establish any of its relationships, let alone its central one, in anything more than a cursory manner. Leading men Robert Redford and Brad Pitt neutralise each other on-screen constantly, the effort in their attempt at mutual chemistry being obnoxiously salient throughout the film. Not that they fare any better on their own, but to be fair, it's hard to tell where the sodden script ends and the bad acting begins.
Celebrating the cunning of a rogue CIA agent, whose aim is to save a colleague taken prisoner in China, Spy Game's antihero is not the captor but the bureaucrats who would sacrifice the prisoner's life to avoid a public relations crisis. Perhaps the only thing interesting about this film will be to see how American audiences react to its glorification of clichéd cowboy ethics, in which doing the right thing involves circumventing the stolid, proper channels of the state. But then again, hopefully not enough people will see this movie to make it a point of reference for popular sentiment.