This is an old film, not in the “Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich” sense, but in the “Robert Redford was still working, nobody’s really using their giant ugly computers but hey! they have cellphones” sense. I was visiting my parents this weekend (hence my failure to post in the past few days – sorry!), and, wanting to watch a movie, we picked this one off of the Rogers Digital Cable on demand piece of shit movie service. Honestly, if you want to watch “17 Again” or one of several middling Julia Roberts movies, Rogers is the service for you.
But I digress. Spy Games is not a good movie, obviously. If it had been I probably would have seen it when it came out nine years ago, or else someone would have said to me at some point in time, “Hey, have you seen Spy Games? It’s a really good little spy movie.” It is not. While the production values are high, the star power powerful, the writing not too bad, this movie suffers from a fundamental dishonesty.
Really, I have no desire to get into the plot of this stupid little film, because the plot actually DOESN’T matter. While it purports to be a story of a conflicted spy risking everything to save the woman he loves, and his older spy mentor sacrificing his retirement future to save him, it’s really a bromance between Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. The relationship between Brad and some British actress I’ve never heard of before (or since) is thin and unbelievable, because it’s a McGuffin. It has no purpose other than to throw Brad Pitt into mortal peril so Robert Redford can move heaven and earth to save him.
Spy Games is part of the American myth machine: the one that constructs Americans as “people”, Europeans as “almost people” and everyone else in the world as “accessories that can be killed in large quantities to trigger the hero’s moral crisis”. It’s one of those movies where a hotel full of Lebanese people gets blown up so the hero can walk away, heroically bloodied and stunned but not horrifically mutilated, and start pondering What Really Matters. It’s one of the movies that have helped shape American thought to the point that 3000 dead Americans is a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance, but 100000 dead Iraqi civillians is just the cost of doing business.
In other words, it’s a disgusting piece of propaganda. Also it casts Brad Pitt as someone old enough to have served in Vietnam, which is just stupid. (Brad Pitt: born in 1963. Vietnam war: over in 1975.) Heartily NOT recommended.