Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
You may just need a guidebook—perhaps the novel on which it’s based—to ultimately grasp the full scope of this masterful remake, but one of its joys is that it offers no guard rail for the viewer. In this clandestine world created by author John le Carré, and visualized to minimalistic perfection by director Tomas Alfredson, names and codes fly as fast as the bullets, and it’s on you to follow their trail. The stunning British cast surely doesn’t hurt the experience.[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Rarely has an action film been as rivetingly edited as “The Bourne Ultimatum,” handheld master Paul Greengrass’s vision of the third chapter of Jason Bourne’s (Matt Damon) onscreen saga. A former drone spy still hunting to find himself and piece together his past, Bourne trots the globe and the camera breathlessly follows him, catching every bloody knuckle along the way.
The Conversation (1974)
Though it’s admittedly a labor-intensive movie for viewers with short attention spans (long stretches of silence pass like cinematic molasses), Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Conversation” is nevertheless a tightly-wound classic — indicative of the make-your-own-rules artistry of ‘70s vanguard flicks. Gene Hackman leads the cast as a conflicted surveillance expert, whose conscience takes over as he spies on an ill-fated couple.
True Lies (1994)
Leave it to director James Cameron to make the best, go-big-or-go-home spy film of the 1990s. An action-comedy, “True Lies” stars the unlikely pair of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, a cheery couple whose domestic life is upended when she learns he’s in the CIA. Things really heat up when she joins the team, going from happy homemaker to femme fatale.[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]
North by Northwest (1959)
One of many atmospheric classics to come from the great Alfred Hitchcock, “North by Northwest” pairs Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in a cross-country survival story crammed with iconic visuals. Summing up the movie in a single shot (Grant’s New York adman is perpetually on the run), the most famous image from “North by Northwest” is that of Grant being chased by a plane as he scrambles on foot. Word to the wise: Don’t get mixed up with spies.EndFragment
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