Spy GameSpy Game Directed by Tony ScottProduced by Marc Abraham,
Douglas WickWritten by Michael Frost Beckner,
David Arata Starring Robert Redford,
Catherine McCormackMusic by Harry Gregson-WilliamsCinematography Daniel MindelEditing by Christian Wagner Distributed by Universal PicturesRelease date(s) 19 November2001(USA) Running time 126 min Country UKLanguage EnglishBudget US$ 92,000,000 IMDb profile
- This article is about the movie. For the TV series of the same title, see Spy Game (TV series).
Set in 1991, the film depicts the U.S. and Chinese Governments on the verge of a major trade agreement with the American President due to pay a visit to China to seal the deal. When the Central Intelligence Agency gets word that operative Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) has been captured trying to free an Englishwoman, Elizabeth Hadley (Catherine McCormack), from a Chinese prison near Su Chou (Suzhou), and is being questioned under torture and will be executed within twenty-four hours unless he is claimed by the U.S. Government, they scramble to decide what to do. Desperate to save their agent's life, they nevertheless recognize that if they claim Bishop as an agent, they risk destroying the trade agreement. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that Bishop was operating in a "rogue" capacity without permission from the Agency.
In an attempt to quickly deal with the situation, CIA executives call in Nathan David Muir (Robert Redford), an aging mid-level case officer on his last day before retirement, and the man who recruited Bishop. Although they tell Muir that they simply need him to act as a "stop gap" to fill in some holes in their background files, the officials are in reality hoping that what he gives them is the smoking gun they need to justify letting Bishop die. Realizing as much, Muir attempts to save Bishop by leaking the story to CNN through a contact in Hong Kong, believing that the CIA will rescue Tom once a public outcry puts pressure on them to do so. Unfortunately for Muir, the tactic only stalls them, as a phone call to the FCC from a high ranking executive results in CNN retracting the story.
During the debriefing, referred above, Muir describes how he met Bishop in Vietnam and how he recruited Bishop in Berlin in 1975 and continued to work together there. Both sub-plots are given extensive time in the film. Considerable time is also devoted to Muir and Bishop's spy work in Lebanon.
With his plan squashed, Muir resorts to far more dangerous tactics, secretly creating a forged urgent operational directive from the CIA Director to commence Operation Dinner Out: a daring rescue mission spearheaded by U.S. Navy SEALs. Using US$ 282,000 (all of his life savings), Muir bribes a Chinese energy official to cut power to the prison for thirty minutes, during which time the Navy SEAL rescue team retrieves Bishop and Hadley.
Hadley, who fled the UK after carrying out an eco-terrorist bombing of the Chinese Embassy, met Bishop in Lebanon. She was in the Chinese prison after being kidnapped and exchanged for an arrested US diplomat. It was in fact Muir himself who had arranged the kidnapping, believing she could possibly expose Bishop's true identity as a CIA operative. After realizing that Hadley was the target of Bishop's daring rescue attempt, Muir finally learns that he greatly underestimated Bishop's feelings for her. It is this guilt which prompts him to part with his life savings in order to save her and Bishop, going against his warning to Bishop years previously in Berlin that he would "not go after" him if he "went off the reservation."
Bishop, at the end of the film, realizes Muir was behind his rescue since the name of the plan to rescue him, "Operation Dinner Out", was a reference to a birthday gift that Bishop gave Muir while they were in Lebanon.
The ending credits dedicate the film to the memory of "Elizabeth Jean Scott".
- Robert Redford - Nathan D. Muir
- Brad Pitt - Tom Bishop
- Catherine McCormack - Elizabeth Hadley
- Stephen Dillane - Charles Harker
- Larry Bryggman - Troy Folger
- Marianne Jean-Baptiste - Gladys Jennip
- Ken Leung - Li
- David Hemmings - Harry Duncan
- Michael Paul Chan - Vincent Vy Ngo
- Garrick Hagon - CIA Director Cy Wilson
- Shane Rimmer - Estate Agent
- Benedict Wong - Tran
- Adrian Pang - Jiang
- Omid Djalili - Beirut: Doumet
- Dale Dye - Rescue Sequence: Cmdr. Wiley
- Charlotte Rampling - Anna Cathcart
- James Aubrey - Mitch Alford
Filming locations included:
- HSBC Hong Kong headquarters building, presented as the American embassy (note that there is actually a U.S. consulate general, but no embassy in Hong Kong). See Hong Kong in films. The interior of the embassy was filmed at the Lloyd's building in London.
- Budapest, Hungary served as Cold War Berlin in the film. The movie was shot here to save money, and also because Berlin has changed a lot since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The helicopter landing in the film's climax was filmed at an airfield near Budapest.
- Casablanca, Morocco became 1980s Beirut in the film. The crew started off in Haifa, Israel, but had to shift to Morocco because of the Al-Aqsa Intifada which broke out in late 2000. The Vietnam War segment was also filmed in Morocco.
- Oxford, England: the former Oxford Prison, which closed in 1996, was used as the Chinese prison set in Su Chou (Suzhou). (It has since been converted into a luxury hotel.) Shots of the ambulance approaching the prison were also filmed in Queen's Lane in Oxford.
- The GlaxoSmithKline research centre in Stevenage, England was used for exterior and some interior scenes at the CIA headquarters. (Aerial shots of the real headquarters were also included.)
- The CIA lobby location was in the Senate House of the University of London. Close-ups of Robert Redford as Muir driving from his home to the CIA headquarters were filmed in Regent's Park, standing in for Washington DC.
- A second unit filmed footage in Washington DC and Virginia for the scenes of Muir driving to and from the CIA headquarters.
External linksv • d • eFilms directed by Tony Scott
Loving Memory (1969) • The Hunger (1983) • Top Gun (1986) • Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) • Revenge (1990) • Days of Thunder (1990) • The Last Boy Scout (1991) • True Romance (1993) • Crimson Tide (1995) • The Fan (1996) • Enemy of the State (1998) • Spy Game (2001) • Man on Fire (2004) • Domino (2005) • Déjà Vu (2006) • The Warriors (2008) •Emma's War (2008) • The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009)
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