- compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Jan
This is the film that will make Farrell, who made a strong impression as a gum-chewing federal officer in
Lynn Nusser (Preview) says it's worth seeing. Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) calls it "an evenly paced, smartly filmed, and entertaining if unremarkable film." Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films) agrees: "It's never hard to guess what's really going on … [but the movie] is slick enough to be entertaining to the end." Holly McClure (Crosswalk) writes, "I liked the chemistry between Pacino and Farrell, but apart from those scenes, Pacino has played this same character many times before."
Gerri Pare (Catholic News Service) also gives the movie a pass: "Donaldson maintains suspense and a brisk pace in equal parts, which makes for an engrossing thriller. The serpentine twists are always involving, as layer after layer of deceit is peeled away.
Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family) agrees: "It's a nail-biter that hangs together pretty well, logically speaking, and doesn't go so far as to betray our rooting interest in the main character." He then launches into harsh criticism of the actor, Colin Farrell, for his behavior outside of moviemaking.
Movieguide's critic calls it "a good spy yarn. Clayton is … a noble person who tries to do the right thing for his country in every case. He truly believes and is committed to his course." But he adds that the film is "by no means a Christian movie." (Perhaps if one of the characters had used the term "Godspeed,"
Meanwhile, Will Johnson (Relevant Magazine) turns in a post-viewing tirade, calling it "atrocious. The script is contrived, poorly written, and bland. Down to the plot twists and techno soundtrack, this movie is the least original film I've seen in a long time."
Mainstream critics are responding with similarly ho-hum compliments. Ty Burr (Boston Globe) calls it "decent escapism: a serviceable spy thriller that stumbles over one too many plot twists, one too many shots of its hero typing desperately at his computer, and a romantic subplot that's nice to look at but awfully silly." Roger Ebert praises the actors: "The early scenes in the film are entertaining … because Pacino works his character for all its grizzled charm, and Colin Farrell is not only enormously likeable but fascinates us with his permanent four-day beard. It's the kind of movie you can sit back and enjoy, as long as you don't make the mistake of thinking too much."