In a concoction of filters, time frames, continents, and technical effects, SPY GAME is a mirage of ideas wrapped into one two-hour highly charged Tony Scott
special. Sometimes though, complicated mixtures can lose their effect and taste like a blur.
The first scene is damn engaging. We find ourselves in 1991 Su Chou, China, in a bizarre, mysterious part that smells dirty and feels harsh. We meet Tom Bishop
(Pitt) as he partakes in what seems to be a mission to save a mysterious someone in what we soon find out is a prison. In the midst of his escape the surging hero is
caught and trapped. Cut to Washington D.C., where Nathan Muir (Redford) is waking up to a phone call from a friend in Hong Kong who just informed him that
Bishop has been caught and has 24 hours to live before his execution. It just so happens that this was to be Muir’s last day at the CIA before his retirement. So
Muir goes to work and is greeted by an invitation from his superiors to join them as they discuss the Bishop case.
Muir briefs them on Bishop. Through a flashback, we learn that they met in Vietnam. It was 1975 and Muir was sent in to prepare Bishop for a Viet Cong leader
assassination he was assigned to. Muir is impressed by the youngster’s marksmanship and his uncanny resilience in the face of animosity. He takes Bishop under
his wing and in a subsequent flash back, we see how Muir begins to guide Bishop into becoming a blossoming CIA spy.
From here we sky rocket through a sequence that shows how good Muir is at teaching and just how talented his protégé is turning out to be. After carousing
Eastern Germany, we settle for a longer period in Beirut, Lebanon where Bishop is sent to knock -off an evil sheik. This part was particularly disturbing given our
present-day Middle-Eastern relations and a suicide-bombing scene that occurs in the movie;, ironically, this bombing is American-sent. After Beirut, Muir and
Bishop part ways and never see one another again. Years later, Muir hears of this new incident.
The glitches in SPY GAME come in the form of lack of character -development, among other things. The audience is never in tune with the reality of this movie, ;
it iswe are instead, sitting as a viewers of a world he we never really understands. Muir is able toably puppeteers the destiny of Bishop through a complicated ploy
that takes place under the CIA superior’s’ noses, thousands of miles away from where the problem lies. It is never quite clear why the CIA is reluctant to help
Bishop or what Muir’s specific role is there at the CIAat the agency is. Nevertheless, he has the ability to speak in James -Bond-like dialogue and move in
Tony Scott took great advantage of the montage of technical assets recent films have brought out into public display. For example, he took Steven Soderbergh’s,
TRAFFIC-y’s color filter effects and made Beirut a grainy yellowish-brown. He also froze scenes mid-sentence to capture exact times of day and spun the
camera around in a MATRIX-like fashion to look at every angle in seemingly not very important scenes.
And yet, SPY GAME moves so fast and carries so much suspense that the common viewer, such as myself, experiences long moments of rapt attention. Who
knows, perhaps clarity and character development are overrated?.