Reviewed by: Robert A. Kouba
How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer
|Featuring:||Robert De Niro, Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, William Hurt, John Turturro, Billy Crudup, Tammy Blanchard, Michael Gambon, Alec Baldwin, Timothy Hutton, Keir Dullea, Eddie Redmayne, Lee Pace, Gabriel Macht, Joe Pesci|
|Director:||Robert De Niro|
|Producer:||Francis Ford Coppola|
“The true story of the birth of the CIA through the eyes of a man that never existed.”
Not an exit.
Edward Wilson’s (Matt Damon) office door shown near the beginning of the film gives foreshadowing of a man choosing to sacrifice his friends, family, and almost everything else for the sake of a job. However, just as he chooses to open the door to his office in the film, Damon’s character chooses his own path.
This non-linear film shows us the sacrifices made by one of the CIA’s formative members. From a young adult accepted into the prestigious but highly secretive Skull and Bones society to being an intelligence veteran seasoned by overseas operations, Wilson is in a constant struggle with a personal life that he feels was thrust upon him. An unforeseen pregnancy causes Wilson to take a wife in Clover (Angelina Jolie). However, his true love lies elsewhere and their relationship is torn apart by Wilson’s eagerness to be away as well as his infidelity at times although Clover is not perfect either.
Stoic and reserved, you can almost hear Wilson’s mind at work. Words and actions are chosen carefully although the lack of spirituality leaves Wilson to rely on the one thing he has an unwavering faith in: his country. However, we see the price paid when our hearts belong to anything but Christ.
The acting is very good. Appearances by John Turturro, Robert De Niro (also the film’s director), Joe Pesci, Billy Crudup, and Timothy Hutton are worth keeping your eyes open for although the film almost reaches the three-hour mark.
Although I enjoyed the film’s character study, it left me wanting. I think it was just the fact that I was hoping for a little more at the end.
As far as content, Wilson is urinated on as he wrestles naked in mud I believe. He is also naked in a coffin during another Skull and Bones ritual. Scenes of infidelity and lovemaking are scattered throughout. There is a vicious scene where a lady is thrown out of an airplane near the end. There are other instances of violence although the one I mentioned is probably the worst. There is a little language including the f-word and some racial slurs.
Spirituality is absent for the most part, although there is a scene in a church. It just serves to introduce Damon’s character to his nemesis though. I think a good point of discussion would be to look at Wilson’s decisions and the consequences and speculate how a Christian worldview would have factored into the decision-making process.
Fair warning: although it is not a typical spy movie with a lot of action or the constant womanizing of a Bond film, the spartan technique of the director makes what he does show seem all the more intense.
Overall, it is a movie I have enjoyed… once.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.