(out of 5)
Talky, boring, ridiculously long political drama, director Robert De Niro’s three hour epic on the creation of the CIA labours under the monotony of quiet conversations. Matt Damon is a bland, colourless hero who, after diligently making it through Yale University as an English major and joining the secret society of Skulls And Bones, is recruited into the United States government at the onset of World War II to help in counterintelligence. His efforts are eventually a part of the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency, but his exceptional devotion to his work costs him his personal life with his increasingly depressed wife (Angelina Jolie) and near-abandoned son. Countless scenes of story exposition through confusing tangents involving muttering men in suits make up the bulk of the story, with very little personal information to attach you to any of the characters. Tammy Blanchard (previously seen winning an Emmy as the young Judy Garland) is the surprising winner here, absolutely shining as Damon’s one true love whom he must abandon after a careless evening with Jolie finds him in front of an altar at the end of a shotgun. Blanchard’s vulnerability is the only sign of genuine humanity in the entire thing, while the rest of it is a collection of dramatic cliches that don’t even teach the audience anything significant about the secretive organization that make its bulk worth the effort. If anything, this spy thriller without the thrills is a nostalgic trip down memory lane to when Oliver Stone’s Nixon made us look for so many excuses to visit the concession stand. Skip it and watch the miniseries The Company instead.
Directed by Robert De Niro
Screenplay by Eric Roth
Cinematography by Robert Richardson
Production Design by Jeannine Oppewall
Costume Design by Ann Roth
Film Editing by Tariq Anwar