Spy Game


Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 29
  2. Negative: 1 out of 29

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Critic Reviews

  1. 90
    The movie is sleek and shiny as a new bullet, reflecting Scott's patented surplus of style.
  2. 83
    There's more to this movie. Like Pitt at his best, it's pretty, gritty, engrossing and fun.
  3. With its cast of back-stabbing functionaries and desk jockeys, Spy Game makes the sport and hard work of espionage seem chillingly real.
  4. 80
    Happily, beneath the film's nostalgic veneer and tooth-rattling visual and aural effects lies a mature ambiguity that's unusual for a holiday blockbuster -- and all but unheard of in a Tony Scott movie.
  5. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Serves up a judicious blend of showy action, political intrigue, ticking-clock suspense and intramural CIA one-upsmanship for mainstream entertainment.
  6. The script provides an excellent payoff, although action fans may not agree, because that payoff is the equivalent of a Cheshire cat's grin.
  7. 75
    If you like Redford, Spy Game will be a real treat: a fast electric thriller full of the old Sundance charm and pizzazz.
  8. The film is brimming with plots, counterplots, dossiers, and sinister corrupt priorities, all held together by the telephoto obsidian gloss of Scott's look-ma-no-pauses style.
  9. 75
    The movie asks tough, unflinching questions about America's responsibility to maintain world peace -- and the price we are willing to pay in order to accomplish that. Timely stuff, indeed.
  10. Charlotte Observer
    Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Gripping, improbable plot marked by exciting sequences of action.
  11. Enormously satisfying and fun to watch.
  12. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    More than a quarter-century ago, Redford played a young CIA employee in "Three Days of the Condor." Someday, it will make a great living-room double bill with Spy Game -- the actor then and now.
  13. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    There's something elegiac in Redford's spy who knows he's a dinosaur but still has a few moves left.
  14. 70
    Manages to be entertaining and reasonably exciting. Scott's style may be slick and tricky but, if this and his last film, "Enemy of the State," are any indication, he's lost the glossy sadism that characterized his previous work.
  15. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Entertaining but farfetched, Spy Game might have looked less meretricious a few months back. But the real world has sabotaged its pretense of authenticity. Enjoy it for what it is, a fleet, handsome fantasy of globe-hopping blond demigods.
  16. 70
    The supremely attractive leads, exotic locations (Vietnam, Berlin and Beirut) and fetishized violence imbue the whole intelligence game with undeniable glamour.
  17. It's well-plotted, acted with a charismatic flair and right on the zeitgeist.
  18. Fans of swooping helicopter shots, alleys filled with backlit geysers of steam, and jump-cut editing that makes MTV look like Ingmar Bergman will relish the intercontinental intrigue and huggermugger that is Spy Game.
  19. 63
    It is not a bad movie, mind you; it's clever and shows great control of craft, but it doesn't care, and so it's hard for us to care about. To see it once is to plumb to the bottom of its mysteries, and beyond.
  20. 63
    We don't experience the drama from the inside out because everything is on the surface. Redford is the only one who supplies internal life to Spy Game.
  21. A mess, but it's a rousing mess, with ample humor and action to satisfy the discerning dullard within.
  22. What Spy Game turns out to be is the old reliable family car spruced up around the edges in an attempt to convince a new generation of buyers that it's a hot number.
  23. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    To make silk purses from turgid passages, Mr. Scott does what he always does, gooses them up with every trick in the big-budget book.
  24. 50
    Less Bond than simply boring, a tedious and overdirected race-against-time drama with a few espionage elements thrown in.
  25. 50
    Don't you hate movies where one character is so much smarter than everyone else? That's only one problem with Spy Game, a glossy, suffocatingly predictable star vehicle for Robert Redford and Brad Pitt.
  26. The problem lies in the calculating pretentiousness of using human misery to make shallow entertainment seem serious. It's worth comparing Spy Game with "The Tailor of Panama," John Boorman's far superior exercise in post-cold-war spycraft.
  27. Extremely well-shot espionage thriller that might have worked as an old-fashioned guy's-guy movie if the guys involved had any real, human personality and the espionage were actually thrilling.
  28. Reasonably entertaining spy-versus-spy shenanigans were for me partially undercut by the hypocritical pretense that the CIA and its various forms of mischief were somehow being ridiculed.
  29. 30
    A dead-chamber misfire, a hollowpoint dud.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 72 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 24
  2. Negative: 2 out of 24
  1. Dec 25, 2011
    A masterpiece. Redford's performance was outstanding. Redford showed that how strong the nerves can be of a person who is in espionage.A masterpiece. Redford's performance was outstanding. Redford showed that how strong the nerves can be of a person who is in espionage. Awesome realistic performance from Redford and Pitt supported him well. Full Review »
  2. Apr 28, 2016
    I think this film is one of the best films to come out of the USA. It is clever, has a very solid script, very few monologue cliches, veryI think this film is one of the best films to come out of the USA. It is clever, has a very solid script, very few monologue cliches, very well acted, perfect settings, good cinematography and combines both the darker and lighter side of humanity in a way that most other films just fail at. Have watched 4 times, I will watch it again in a few years I would think. Full Review »
  3. Aug 17, 2014
    This one is alright. Robert Redford is very good, Brad Pitt is solid, and the plot is interesting, but beyond that, things struggle. FirstThis one is alright. Robert Redford is very good, Brad Pitt is solid, and the plot is interesting, but beyond that, things struggle. First off, the plot is a little overcomplicated. There is so much going on that it can be hard to follow, even if you are paying attention. In addition to being overly complicated, the plot is 100% implausible. Some elements likely ring true, but the way things turn out and the events leading to the ending are completely implausible and simply not believeable. Speaking of the plot, it is entirely formulaic. I usually do not mind formulaic films, but this one is obnoxiously so. At times, it works and at others, it simply becomes too predictable. In terms of the direction, I am not a huge fan of Tony Scott. His storytelling here is sketchy and then other elements of this one are simply not for me. As with many of his films, he is simply too formulaic of a director and does nothing extraordinarily well. The editing is also bad, which is almost a guarantee in a Tony Scott film. In one scene in particular, it just kept cutting from a two-shot to close ups obnoxiously and without need, which was very distracting. Bad editing is usually when it is distracting and in many scenes here, it is distracting. Ultimately, however, Spy Game is in fact entertaining and fun to follow. Thanks to great performances and a satisfying ending and premise, this one is just mediocre, rather than a complete and utter disaster. Full Review »