On the brink of retirement, secret agent and former Spy for the CIA Nathan Muir (Robert Redford), learns his former protégé Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) has been captured and held in a Chinese prison, to be executed in 24 hours.
With the US president about to embark on a trade mission to China, the intelligence agency sweat over the prospect of exposing themselves - Tom Bishop is a threat they need to cut loose.
Nathan faces a long day of interrogation, while the agents probe and question for every morsel of information regarding loose cannon Tom Bishop. Eager to aid Tom's release, Nathan commences a huge mission, barely without moving from the meeting room. He must conduct his actions, without the agency's knowledge and release Tom, before his brutal execution.
Consisting mainly of flashbacks, we revisit the past of Nathan and Tom, to heart-rending music, dramatic scenes of violence, courage and sheer luck., The pair spy their way through the late 1970's, using people as assets to gain information and extract details from unsuspecting informants. The flashbacks aim to provide a descript recollection of the pair's affinity and friendship and how Nathan cannot let Tom die in prison. The agency have other ideas, once they find out Tom was on a private mission to rescue his lover, they render him too risky to save and cannot afford to shake the government trade mission.
Using the flashback effect, we gain enough context, to place Tom and Nathan in our hearts - without this extensive information, it would be hard to gain the concept of their strong relationship. Redford and Pitt barely spend time together on screen, so chemistry is lacking, but somehow their love is successfully conveyed.
All in all, Spy Game conducts the story well, but lacks in suspense, due to the complex intricate storyline. Scenes of violence and death are prevalent, but the terrorists involved in the storyline may evoke unexpected compassion, pitched as they are in such a hostile atmosphere of brutal violence.
Spy Game is more brain-taxing and thought-provoking than your run-of-the-mill bombs and bullets bonaza.
With thanks to Warner Village, Leeds.