On the surface, Spy Game has all the elements of an entertaining, if not good, film.
Robert Redford and Brad Pitt provide adequate acting, and there is a decent plot. After all, how can you go wrong in an espionage flick with Redford and Pitt? And, ah yes, the movie packs the inevitable plotting of a cinematic romance between Tom Bishop (
Pitt) and Elizabeth Hadley (Catherine McCormack).
Sure, the elements are there, but what the movie has in star power, it lacks in star punch.
The story begins as Tom is captured in a Chinese prison after an attempted round of espionage. Nathan Muir (Redford) is a CIA agent on the verge of retirement, and his job is to spring Tom, a friend and colleague, without the world's smartest agency finding out. All of this, of course, has to happen in 24 hours or Tom's toast.
Sounds plausible, right?
The rescue isn't even the central part of the tale. Heck, it doesn't really tie together until the viewer has long-been bored to tears by the middle portion of the two-hour marathon.
The film is doomed due to its own format, which entails Nathan rehashing his and Tom's story to a CIA board. To put it short, Nathan cannot tell a mean story.
While some of the flashbacks prove entertaining, the majority of the stories are coma-inducing and could be left out altogether. The quintessential long-winded tale comes when Nathan yaks, for the better part of an hour, about a Lebanese excursion of Tom's. This is also where the love interest enters, for those scoring at home. And while some of the information is necessary down the line, director Michael Frost Beckner should have kept in mind the journalistic principle of brevity here.
But sleepy moviegoers are still paying customers, and the Pitt/Redford tag team will be enough to sell tickets.
In essence, the movie is witty at times. The characters, while somewhat underdeveloped, are decent. Pitt plays a good imprisoned spy.
But one question remains: How does a wrinkled old guy like Muir outsmart the CIA? Humph.
Take a pen and paper if you are going to catch this movie. Should the notes not help you follow along, then at least scribbling will keep you awake.
Spy Game is playing at Halls Cinema 7, Foothills 12, Wynnsong 16, Farragut Town Square, Knoxville Center and Cinemark Tinseltown.
Rating: C