THE TRUE STORY OF THE BIRTH OF THE CIA THROUGH THE EYES OF A MAN WHO NEVER EXISTED.
Robert De Niro should direct more films; this story about the rise of the CIA after WWII, a pet project of his for quite some time, has the ring of truth. No real-life people are portrayed here but the writer based his work on some of the figures who shaped the CIA, with Matt Damon’s character being based on the legendary spymasters James Jesus Angleton and Richard Bissell. It’s a depressing world we’re invited into, especially after the war when the games between the U.S. and the Soviet Union take on an aura of pointlessness. Long but engrossing, with some critics identifying similarities to The Godfather (1972). Angelina Jolie’s role as the wife is thankless, but it’s great to see Joe Pesci again in a small part, his first in eight years.
2006-U.S. 167 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Robert De Niro, James G. Robinson, Jane Rosenthal. Directed by Robert De Niro. Screenplay: Eric Roth. Cinematography: Robert Richardson. Cast: Matt Damon (Edward Wilson), Angelina Jolie (Margaret Russell), Alec Baldwin (Sam Murach), Tammy Blanchard, Billy Crudup, Robert De Niro… Keir Dullea, Michael Gambon, William Hurt, Timothy Hutton, Joe Pesci, Eddie Redmayne, John Turturro.
Trivia: Leonardo DiCaprio was first cast as Wilson.
Quote: “I remember a senator once asked me, when we talk about ‘CIA’ why we never use the word ‘the’ in front of it. And I asked him, do you put the word “the” in front of ‘God’?” (Lee Pace as a CIA chief)
Last word: “I don’t want to confuse the audience. There might still be parts that are confusing. I think there might still be parts that are confusing and I think that’s okay. You don’t always have to have the answer to everything. There are certain trajectories character-wise that I took out so that we could focus on the other characters. I thought that would probably make sense at this point. And for anybody who really wanted to see the other part of the story, we’ll have that absolutely for them [on the DVD].” (De Niro, About.com)