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"SPY GAME"
(2001) (Robert Redford, Brad Pitt) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Heavy Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Heavy None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Moderate Mild Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: On his last day on the job, a veteran CIA officer must figure out what's going on and battle both the clock and his associates as he tries to rescue his one-time protégé who's about to be executed in a Chinese prison.
PLOT:
Nathan Muir (ROBERT REDFORD) is a veteran CIA officer who's on his last day on the job. When he gets a call from Hong Kong indicating that a former protégé of his, Tom Bishop (BRAD PITT), is now being held in a Chinese prison set to be executed for espionage, he knows his day will entail a bit more than packing up his belongings with his faithful assistant, Gladys Jennip (MARIANNE JEAN-BAPTISTE).

Asked to pull records on Bishop by one of his associates, Charles Harker (STEPHEN DILLANE), Nathan acts dumb about what's transpired to see what the agency knows and is planning. It seems that they've had some sort of covert operation going on there and plan to sacrifice Tom so that trade negotiations between the U.S. and China aren't stymied.

Accordingly, while Nathan recounts his experience recruiting, training and then working with Tom from the time they met in Vietnam through West Germany and then Beirut where the young spy became involved with Elizabeth Hadley (CATHERINE McCORMACK), a British foreign aid worker with a shady background, he tries to figure out how to arrange for Tom's rescue all while staying at least one step ahead of Barker and their boss, Troy Folger (LARRY BRYGGMAN).

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens may want to, as might fans of anyone in the cast or director Tony Scott's work.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language, some violence and brief sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ROBERT REDFORD plays a veteran CIA officer - known for making tough decisions that cost people their lives -- who must overcome various obstacles by using his smarts and resourcefulness to save his former protégé. He uses some profanity and drinks some.
  • BRAD PITT plays the young spy who became disillusioned with Muir's ethically questionable tactics. He uses strong profanity, ends up romantically involved with Elizabeth, and finds himself set for execution in a Chinese prison after being captured during a rescue operation.
  • CATHERINE McCORMACK plays a British foreign aid worker who similarly falls for Tom but has a questionable background as we learn that she was involved in a bombing in the past that killed innocent people.
  • STEPHEN DILLANE plays one of Muir's associates who seems to have it out for him, wants to uncover and thwart his efforts, and briefly uses strong profanity.
  • LARRY BRYGGMAN plays their boss who participates in the questioning of Muir about Bishop.
  • MARIANNE JEAN-BAPTISTE plays Muir's faithful assistant who helps him in various ways.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated dramatic thriller. Profanity is rated as extreme due to the use of at least 16 "f" words, while various other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Violence consists of a suicidal man - working in conjunction with the CIA - driving a truck bomb into a large building where it explodes and causes the building to collapse (injuring or killing many with the brief shot of one wounded victim who's missing his arm).

    Other violence includes a Vietnam War era assassination, other war violence, a man briefly seen being beaten in a Chinese prison while being interrogated (with bloody results), and the sight of someone being electrocuted (although he's later seen okay). Some of those scenes and others may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    Sexual encounters are implied between a man and woman, the drawing of a bare-breasted pin-up woman is seen as are clips of women running in slow motion in revealing bathing suits on TV, and various characters drink and/or smoke. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific content information.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People have drinks at a party, including Nathan.
  • Nathan has scotch and Tom has a beer in a bar.
  • Nathan and others drink in a flashback scene.
  • Tom makes a man - whom he's attempting to escort across a border -- drink liquor from a bottle (so that he smells of it as part of the plan).
  • Miscellaneous people drink in a bar, while Elizabeth has a beer.
  • Nathan orders some scotch, while Elizabeth and Tom have wine.
  • Nathan has a drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a prisoner with some sort of large and ugly sore on his face.
  • We see a little bit of blood squirt out (through a sniper's scope) as a man is shot in the chest.
  • Tom's face is bloody while he's being interrogated. We later see more subsequent shots of him and he's bloodier each time.
  • Tom quickly swallows a few drops of some liquid that instantly makes him vomit (and we see it) as he scrambles to cover himself from some who are pursuing him.
  • We see a black and white photo of a dead woman on the floor with a fair amount of blood from her mouth and down the side of her face.
  • We see a young boy with a bad wound on his shoulder (in Beirut).
  • We see black and white photos of a dead couple lying on the floor, but beyond being dead, they don't appear to be bloody or gory.
  • We see blood on sheets where wounded people are treated.
  • Tom has some blood and cuts on his face during another mission.
  • We see a person being brought out of a building missing an arm (with a bloody stump).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Although the particulars of who's good and bad within the agency are fuzzy, Nathan must deal with others who appear ready to sacrifice Tom and will do whatever it takes to block Nathan's attempts at saving him. At the same time, some may see Nathan as having both types of attitudes for going against his superiors' orders/breaking the rules.
  • In addition, some of the decisions that Nathan and Tom make end up costing various people - some bad, others innocent victims - their lives.
  • Some of the people who agree to help the CIA - for any number of reasons - break various rules (killing people, knocking out power grids, etc.).
  • A person uses the term "Gook" in a flashback scene set in 1975 Vietnam.
  • As Tom is being interrogated, a person punches him in the face and the blood on his face shows that they've already been hitting him.
  • We hear that Elizabeth was involved with a human rights movement that bombed a building that was supposed to be empty, but wasn't.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Tom appears to be electrocuted when he comes into contact with an electrical box in a prison (we see sparks and his body shaking). Another person then hits him with a wooden chair to knock him free of the current. He's pronounced dead, but is later seen okay.
  • Tom races against the clock to free a prisoner from a Chinese prison cell (in the dark with a flashlight and drawn gun) before the power is turned back on and he's spotted. He eventually makes it out, but a suspicious warden stops a truck and he's apprehended at gunpoint by many guards.
  • We see Tom in camouflage and hiding, preparing to assassinate a foreign officer during the Vietnam War. As he tries to take a shot, a helicopter suddenly comes between him and his target, but he manages to get off several shots that apparently kill the man. Those in the helicopter then open fire on Tom and another man who try to flee, but the man is hit in the leg. Tom helps him to safety and the two hide until Tom opens fire on the chopper, causing it to crash and explode, presumably killing all who were on board it.
  • Tom races through traffic and people, and against time, to get an operative in place before Nathan activates a backup plan that will probably kill many people. While doing so, people open fire on his car.
  • A suicidal truck driver, working for the CIA, drives through a barricade and toward a building as militia open fire on him. He then crashes into the large building that then explodes and collapses.
  • We briefly see a still photo of a gun being held to Tom's head.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Machine guns/Handgun/Sniper Rifle: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Explosive: Used by Tom to blow open a prison cell lock.
  • War weaponry (artillery, anti-tank gun, etc.): Seen being used in Middle Eastern conflict.
  • Truck bomb: Used to blow up a building and kill/injure many people.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Are you out of your f*cking mind?" "I don't f*cking know," "Don't f*cking tell me that," "It's not a f*cking game," "F*ck your rules," "We are so f*cked," "What the f*ck are you doing?" "You don't know what the f*ck you're doing," "Get out of the f*cking way," "Sh*t storm," "Sh*tty," "Bullsh*t," "We need the press on this like we need a third t*t," "What the hell /is going on/is that?" "Gook" (Vietnamese person), "Scum," "My God, you're hideous" (said playfully) and "I'll be damned."
  • A suicidal truck driver drives through a barricade and then crashes into a large building that then explodes and collapses.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 16 "f" words, 7 "s" words, 1 slang term for breasts ("t*t"), 5 hells, 2 damns, 1 ass, 4 uses of "Jesus," 2 each of "God," "My God" and "Oh Jesus Christ," and 1 use each of "Christ," "For God's sakes," "Jesus Christ" and "Oh Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a drawing of a bare-breasted pin-up on the side of a helicopter with the words "Birth Control" under her.
  • A woman in a flashback shows cleavage in a party dress.
  • Making a metaphor about something non-sexual, Nathan states that they needed twice the sex and half the foreplay.
  • As Tom gets up, we then see Elizabeth in his bed under the sheets (suggesting sex).
  • It's implied that they have sex again as he sits up in bed shirtless (with her in bed).
  • We see some brief TV shots of female lifeguards running in slow motion in low-cut/high-cut one-piece bathing suits on the TV show "Baywatch."
  • SMOKING
  • An agent smokes a few times, while various miscellaneous people also smoke.
  • We see some cigars in a box on Nathan's desk and later see him, in flashback, tell Tom to always have a pack of smokes with him for use in the field (we later see Nathan using a pack as a momentary decoy).
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • There's talk about Nathan having many ex-wives, but we later learn that none of them were real.
  • A doctor is shown some photos of his slain parents and that shakes him up.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Some of the decisions that Nathan and Tom make end up costing various people - some bad, others innocent victims - their lives.
  • The life of a spy and how the CIA operates.
  • The old notion of the needs or good of the many outweighing the needs or good of the few.
  • Mentor/protégé relationships.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Tom appears to be electrocuted when he comes into contact with an electrical box in a prison (we see sparks and his body shaking). Another person then hits him with a wooden chair to knock him free of the current. He's pronounced dead, but is later seen okay.
  • Tom uses a small explosive to blow open a prison cell lock.
  • Chinese prison guards aim their machine guns at Tom and others when capturing him. We then see them dragging him through the prison.
  • We see Tom in camouflage and hiding, preparing to assassinate a foreign officer during the Vietnam War. As he tries to take a shot, a helicopter suddenly comes between him and his target, but he manages to get off several shots that apparently kill the man (hitting him in the chest and what looked like the head - seen through a sniper's scope). Those in the helicopter then open fire on Tom and another man who try to flee, but the man is hit in the leg. Tom then fires at helicopter with a machine gun and then helps the other man to safety and the two hide until Tom opens fire on the chopper again, causing it to crash and explode, presumably killing all who were onboard it.
  • As Tom is being interrogated, a person punches him in the face and the blood on his face shows that they've already been hitting him.
  • A man pushes Tom up against a car, believing him to be drunk.
  • When a man won't get out of the car that Tom is driving, Tom gets out, yanks the man out and pushes him to the street.
  • Tom throws a chair from the roof of a building in anger, but we never see where it lands/what it hits.
  • We see a black and white photo of a dead woman on the floor with a fair amount of blood from her mouth and down the side of her face.
  • We see some war footage from Beirut with artillery firing and some resultant explosions.
  • A person fires an anti-tank gun at a tank that then explodes.
  • A man drives by in a jeep shooting a machine gun (we don't see at whom or what), and Tom and Nathan then run through a bombed out area of Beirut as some shots are fired at them.
  • We see more archival style footage of military fighting.
  • People open fire on Tom's car as he drives through Beirut and he smashes into another car while backing up. He then crashes into a merchant/peddler's cart.
  • A motorcyclist jumps over a barrier and various militiamen open fire on him (he falls to the street).
  • A suicidal truck driver, working for the CIA, drives through a barricade and toward a building as militia open fire on him (eventually hitting and killing him). The truck continues, however, and then crashes into the large building and explodes - in a huge explosion -- and the building then collapses (with many people inside presumably killed or injured).
  • We see a brief flashback scene of men grabbing Elizabeth, putting a hood over her head and dragging her inside a vehicle.
  • Military men raid a prison and exchange machine gun fire with others, but we don't see anyone being hit.



  • Reviewed November 19, 2001 / Posted November 21, 2001

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