Complete A-Z list



Stars: Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Laura Linney, Dennis Haysbert, Kathleen Quinlan, Bruce Davison, Caroline Dhavernas, Gary Cole

Director: Billy Ray

This study of 'the worst spy in American history' is skilfully acted by a class cast, if not exactly gripping. To be honest, it's even slightly dull. Still, Cooper, as the double agent, Phillippe, as the FBI agent assigned to spy on the spy, Linney as his superior, and Haysbert as the FBI chief all offer the professional performances you'd expect.

And, if Phillippe's methods of entrapping Cooper seem to stretch credibility, one assumes that they're more or less true.

Despite all this, and nice photography by Tak Fujimoto, the project seems more suited to a one-hour docudrama on TV. And, though there's an entertaining start to the relationship between the two leads - Cooper insists that Phillipe is his clerk and must only call him boss or sir - the film never follows through on this theme. Nor does it really dig underneath the skins of the leading characters. Still, it has a neat closing scene, as Cooper and his betrayer unexpectedly come face to face.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox (MGM/Universal). Colour.
110 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 26 Aug 2007