Spy Game
Reviewed by David Kashimba

It’s interesting to see how popular the CIA has become again. Two new TV dramas, Alias and The Agency, show the CIA in a mostly positive light. So too with the film Spy Game starring Robert Redford as Nathan Muir and Brad Pitt as Tom Bishop, both CIA operatives. While Muir and Bishop do things that are often morally questionable, their bottom line is that they are working for the “greater good.”

On the day of his retirement, Muir finds out that an agent he recruited and trained, Bishop, was captured and will soon be executed in a Chinese prison. Bishop, not operating on CIA orders was caught attempting to rescue his girlfriend Elizabeth (Catherine McCormack) from the same Chinese prison. While the CIA is preparing to disavow all knowledge of Bishop and let the Chinese execute him, Muir uses his 30 years of experience to work against the CIA and do everything he can to save his friend.

Muir’s clandestine battle against the agency is what makes this film entertaining and suspenseful. Add an excellent performance by Redford in the subtle way he plays with the CIA to try to achieve his friend’s rescue, and fine acting by the entire cast, and you have a highly entertaining spy film.

While this movie may lack the depth of character found in John Le Carre spy novels and films made from his novels, it has far more depth and realism than any of the 007 films. The essence of the character story in Spy Game is the subtle comradeship that develops between Muir and Bishop in an agency where getting too close to anyone can be dangerous.

This is a fast-paced film with plenty of entertainment value. Though character depth may be lacking in the script, the subtle acting abilities of Redford and Pitt draw you into their characters and keep you hoping that they will succeed.

All and all this movie is a pleasant change from all the not so positive films about the CIA, the government and the military. When you leave the theater after seeing Spy Game, you won’t feel guilty about that American flag flying outside your car window.

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