Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Germany/USA/Japan/France, 2001. Universal Pictures, Beacon Communications, Beacon Pictures, Kalima Productions GmbH & Co. KG, Metropolitan Filmexport, Red Wagon Entertainment, Toho-Towa. Story by Michael Frost Beckner, Screenplay by Michael Frost Beckner, David Arata. Cinematography by Daniel Mindel. Produced by Marc Abraham, Stephanie Antosca, Douglas Wick. Music by Harry Gregson-Williams. Production Design by Norris Spencer. Costume Design by Louise Frogley. Film Editing by Christian Wagner.
Tony Scott continues his reign of mediocrity with this difficult but sometimes rewarding thriller. It’s about a retiring CIA operative (Robert Redford) who is forced to go above heads and conduct some covert business of his own when his superiors decide that an imprisoned marksman agent gone rogue (Brad Pitt) is expendable. Redford relates stories of training Pitt to a panel of his superiors, about assisting him in the field and getting his smart ass out of some serious trouble, and herein lies the film’s major obstacle: the muddled screenplay crams too much in, with one rambling adventure after another, and Scott’s frenetic visual style tries hard to give the plot some consistency but ends up doing quite the opposite. It’s obvious after a point that the filmmaker is trying to hide the fact that the story isn’t about anything in particular, and for this reason the length will seem tedious to some viewers. Redford is excellent and completely watchable in the lead, but Pitt’s character is so shallow (and the script has no idea what to do with him) that even though he performs superbly he’s never really all that sympathetic.