Spy Game-The Movie



Just last night I got chance to watch this movie… and I was luck cause it didnt waste my time.. The movie was good..

Sometimes a movie can be so clever and so fun that you can completely disregard the fact that it is utterly devoid of meaning or logic. By the time we hear Brad Pitt’s character Tom Bishop ask, “What’s the name of the operation?” and the response is, “Operation Dinner Out, sir!” we have been so perfectly enthralled by the performances of Pitt and Robert Redford that we can easily set aside the absurdity of what is happening on screen. Bishop is a CIA operative who has gotten himself captured by the Chinese. Redford’s Nathan Muir is his superior. The film is about their history together and Muir’s attempt to free Bishop.

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I watched the movie with my girlfriend, and while she enjoyed it, she remarked afterward that she would need to see it again to really understand all of the twists and turns. I have seen it three times now, and I still don’t have a full grasp of all the phone calls and cutaways and violent edits. This aspect, rather than being a distraction, is one of the film’s virtues. The idea is that Redford’s Nathan Muir is so smart that he is hoodwinking the CIA. Part of the game that the movie plays is that we the viewers are given just enough of a hint that we can appreciate his cleverness, but even we aren’t intended to fully “get it”.

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Tony Scott’s hectic, pulse-pounding visual style is largely responsible for this mesmerizing and confusing effect. Similar to (but far superior to)  Guy Ritchie’s penchant for seemingly random visual tampering, Scott hits more often than he misses in Spy Game (though he definitely misses with an awkward and repeated “time stamp” effect). Scott has a well earned reputation as a violent director. He loves violent characters and dangerous scenes and his visual effects and editing are  just as virulent as the oft-seen machine gun fire. Partner that with a taste for “cool” Hollywood endings and he has had some nice success with fun action films like Crimson Tide, Enemy of the State and Spy Game.

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One qualm is that Scott tends to drag his actioners on for too long.  There is a touch too much dialogue, a few too many chase scenes; the films are tight, slick, hour-and-forty-five-minute action films stretched to two hours (or more). This tends to dull the edge of the cleverness and the pop of the one-liners. Luckily, Scott usually works with top-notch charsimatic leads like Pitt and Redford, Hackman, Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise. These actors can carry even bad scripts pretty far (and they often end up doing  just that).
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Spy Game was made before 9/11 but released soon after, in November 2001. Given the subject matter involving suicide bombing and assassinations of Middle-Eastern warlords, it may have been too touchy to have gotten much press at the time. I certainly do not remember hearing much about it.  The film asks of the audience a certain blind confidence in the intelligence and power of the CIA and its operatives, something that was very common prior to 9/11. Immediately after that distaster, and even to this day, the aura of American invincibility has been tarnished. Nonetheless, my most recent viewing, some nine years after release, was as least as fun as if the story had been more realistic.

Spy Game brat pitt

Spy Game is a 2001 American spy film directed by Tony Scott and starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. The film grossed $62 million in the United States and $143 million worldwide and received mostly positive reviews from film critics…


The tag line of the movie is :

Its not how you play the game.. Its how the game plays you….

One of the major strengths of the movie is the chemistry between Redford and Pitt. Their characters are presented in a master and apprentice fashion, however as the plot progresses it is almost akin to a father and son. What is so magical about this relationship on screen is the striking visual similarities between the two. One does not think of the actors as playing their roles, they simply are their roles. The film may not be particularly exceptional as far as cinema goes, however the acting is truly a joy to behold.

Acting and cinematography (I love the fast pace editing and shooting style) aside, I particularly enjoy the costume design in this film. Louise Frogley’s work in dressing both Redford’s and Pitt’s characters is fantastic.

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spygame Picture 21

spygame Picture 21

Redford’s main costume, worn around Langley, has a casual and slightly offbeat quality that clearly sets up and reflects the nature of the character he plays. It has an ease and nonchalance – with the open collar, washed broadcloth shirt and comfortable herringbone blazer – that would have no doubt been of the utmost importance to Muir’s work abroad, being able to fit in where needed and quickly gain the trust of those who he needed to trust him. It stands in stark contrast to the ill fitting dark polyester suits and crisp white shirts of those who share his scenes at Langley.

The subtlety between Muir, with his textured blazer and contrasting trousers, or indeed the washed blue shirt, and the relatively standardized and soulless suiting of the ancillary characters means that the attention of the viewer is clearly centered on the character who forms the focus of the scene. However it is not a jarring or highly obvious contrast of costumes, allowing the audience to be gently and almost subconsciously led to understanding the difference between Muir and his counterparts. The costume has the feel of the friendly professor, or the charming uncle, and it is that warmth that is reflected from the character of the role and helps guide the audience.

Plus the costume is pretty damn cool.

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Muir’s outfits always have a refined elegance, however are comfortably casual. Whereas Bishop’s outfits tend to be younger and slightly more period specific, Muir’s outfits have a more traditional quality. From the cosy looking Aran sweater, to the dark plaid shirt, to the classic grey polo shirt and linen jacket, the costumes are classic and well tailored. The consistent conservative streak sets up the character as a confident and knowledgeable mentor, however the more casual elements make him seem approachable and emotionally available.

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I loved the decision to give Muir a navy wool pea coat. I suppose the obvious costume for an operative abroad would have been a double breasted mac, however the sharp tailoring and structure of a pea coat allows Redford to have more of a strong presence in scenes where close up shots make the majority. Indeed one notes that Redford is presented in the pea coat in scenes where Muir is essentially telling Bishop off, or trying to convey some serious message to his student. It is however not entirely domineering, for in both instances the shirt collar is left open, reflecting the more informal nature of their relationship as master and student.

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Pitt’s main costume in the film is where Bishop works his cover as a war photographer and journalist in Beirut. The costume immediately has a younger and more care free attitude in comparison to Muir’s. Note the unbuttoned shirt to reveal bare chest, rolled sleeves, baseball cap, nonchalantly worn photographer’s waistcoat, and the slim white jeans and beat up brown boots that are out of shot above. Muir’s outfits always have a more traditional vibe, whereas Bishop’s tend to have a far more casual and youthful appeal.

The slightly more rebellious and unkempt nature of Pitt’s costume reflects the more hot headed and immature nature of Bishop, that of the student trying to prove himself and refusing to detach himself emotionally from the task at hand as his seniors would advise. Indeed I found that particular aspect, of Bishop trying to come to terms and deal with the emotional side of his work deeply fascinating.

Again this story is one that focuses on the characters, and as Bishop struggles with the work he does, he begins to have misgivings that Muir ostensibly, after so many years, does not share. The way both characters deal with the emotional stress and the need to make hard decisions allows Scott to present two characters who truly show a sense of internal struggle without being overdone or cliched.

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Brad Pitt in an army uniform… Enjoy ladies.


Catherine McCormack’s character, Elizabeth Hadley, serves as the boiling point between Muir and Bishop. However the love story between Bishop and Hadley, along with the father and son type relationship between Muir and Bishop, makes the film. In scenes with McCormack, Pitt’s costumes are usually based around unbuttoned shirts with rolled sleeves. However rather than plain shirts, they are by detailing somewhat period specific. Indeed whilst nods are subtly made towards the period specificity of scenes (ranging from the early 1970s to the end of the 1980s), what I enjoyed was that the majority of costumes tended to have a more classic quality.

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The mirroring of Pitt and Redford, Bishop and Muir, was a stroke of casting genius. I especially enjoy the scene where Muir is leaving Beirut for Argentina. Both characters are presented in similar shirts with epaulets, and similar sunglasses. The audience sees Bishop as the younger counterpart to the aged Muir, and the transformation of Bishop from boy scout-turned-soldier to independent operative is truly complete.

1. MSGM Flannel Jacket 2. E Tautz Casual Flat Front Trousers 3. Dolce and Gabbana Silk Tie 4. Givenchy Poplin Shirt 5. J. W. Benson 1915 Trench Watch 6. Nigel Cabourn Army Satchel 7. Folk Shoulder Patch Shirt 8. Clarks Desert Boots 9. Dolce and Gabbana Herringbone Jacket

1. MSGM Flannel Jacket
2. E Tautz Casual Flat Front Trousers
3. Dolce and Gabbana Silk Tie
4. Givenchy Poplin Shirt
5. J. W. Benson 1915 Trench Watch
6. Nigel Cabourn Army Satchel
7. Folk Shoulder Patch Shirt
8. Clarks Desert Boots
9. Dolce and Gabbana Herringbone Jacket

1. Levi's Vintage Leather Jacket 2. Maison Martin Margiela Ankle Boot 3. Levi's Vintage Cable Knit Sweater 4. Maison Martin Margiela Scratched Cuff 5. Ralph Lauren Checked=

1. Levi’s Vintage Leather Jacket
2. Maison Martin Margiela Ankle Boot
3. Levi’s Vintage Cable Knit Sweater
4. Maison Martin Margiela Scratched Cuff
5. Ralph Lauren Checked Oxford Shirt
6. Levi’s Vintage Sunset Shirt
7. Rag and Bone T-Shirt
8. Paul Smith Camel Chinos
9. Barbour x Tokihito Yoshida Blouson Jacket




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