Man, why don’t they make more movies like this? I almost completely forgot about this gem until I was looking up Robert Redford movies to Netflix and this technological thriller was on prominent display. I think the thing that is most shocking about this is that the director of Field of Dreams, Phil Alden Robinson, went on to director this movie three years after his baseball film and it was a completely different change of pace from the moody drama’s that he is known for. With that little bit of film trivia known, does anybody else love watching older films and their depiction of technology during that time? I really love seeing movies like Hackers and what they think hacking is really like. Sneakers falls into that category that Hackers does, except that it is way better and even slightly more interesting because of a cavalcade of top notch actors lending their skills to this movie.
In this tech-thriller from director Phil Alden Robinson, a group of five renegade computer hackers, led by Martin Bishop (Robert Redford), are hired by the government to steal a black box, containing a code-breaking machine, from the mathematician who invented the device. The government is able to persuade Martin to take the job by convincing him that they will drop a decades-old federal warrant for his involvement in computer fraud. Martin agrees and he takes his team on the mission, eventually taking the box. Shortly after the hackers have stolen the device, the mathematician turns up dead. Before long, the quintet realize that they’ve gotten themselves into more than they’d originally bargained for, as Bishop’s old rival Cosmo (Ben Kingsley) enters into the fold. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi
I look at this movie as a pure entertainment movie. It isn’t deep, it isn’t breaking new ground, but what the movie manages to do is make an entertaining technological caper with a stunning cast of A-listers and established character actors. I think that is the thing that I get hung up most on in this movie is the cast itself. You got Robert Redford playing the lead man of a group of hackers who are really good at their job. He is charismatic, commanding and often humorous in this ensemble cast. While he is probably one of the bigger names of the film, it was 1992 mind you, there are a lot of remarkably well known actors that populate this film. David Strathairn (the refined man’s Jason Statham), River Phoenix, Ben Kingsley, Stephen Tobolowski, James Earl Jones, and Sidney Poitier are just some of the incredible talent present in a film that resembles a more contemporary Mission: Impossible. And that is even all of the actors that show up in the film.
It makes me giddy to see all this amazing talent in a movie like this. It never really plays the serious angle as the they are more quips and witty lines sprinkles throughout the movie to lessen the serious thriller angle, but it doesn’t lose that nice edge it has in terms of carrying along with a technological heist that throws numerous curve balls in terms of players and deception. There are a lot of logical leaps that need to be made to buy into the heist and the motives, but I could care less when you watch Redford be a charismatic leader or watch Ben Kingsley spit hot fire as the hammy, scene chewing villain. The characters are well developed to the point that it seems like each actor is essentially typecast into the role. I find this funny since Dan Aykroyd plays a conspiracy theory nut in this movie when he is one in real life. Check out his stuff on Netflix about UFO’s…fascinating.
Sorry I am getting sidetracked on the characters once again, but that is really where the enjoyment comes from for me. How often will you see Oscar winning actors come together for a campy humor, tech thriller? The movie chugs along at a nice pace, one that helps make up the shortcomings of the plot and the over complicated nature they wanted to create. It isn’t as deep as they think it is, but instead it is well written and acted that you enjoy the movie more for the banter and partner relationships that take place between the hackers and the government agents. It is a solid movie that is sleek and interesting enough to get you into the story and see some brilliant little semblances of humor and development, all the while maintaining an action lean interspersed with all the technology porn that one can handle.