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Movie Marathon Idea: To All the Spies I’ve Loved Before

February 27, 2012

Every gal loves a man of mystery now and then.  Here’s a toast to all the ladies and gents who’ve turned the intelligence game into big screen gold.

 

1.) The Bourne Identity (2002)

Doug Liman’s adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s series about amnesiac spy Jason Bourne was a dramatic departure from his previous work (he was best known for the low-budget Swingers).  The Bourne Identity was a well-acted, well-written gem of a movie that surprised many of Ludlum’s fans with its financial and critical success.   Matt Damon’s Bourne is one of the more believable, “everyman” spies on film, a character who has as many doubts about his purpose as he does talents.   The plot never becomes flashy, as Liman wisely chooses to keep the mystery and the action tightly wound and surprisingly intimate.

2.) La Femme Nikita (1991)

Luc Besson’s story of young spy/assassin Nikita begins as the title character (a sleek and dangerous Anne Parillaud) is captured by the shady underground branch of French intelligence after murdering a policeman in a robbery gone awry.  She transforms from drug-addled waif to masterful femme fatale thanks to the tutelage of fellow spies and her handler, the mysterious “Bob”.    Nikita’s story spawned not only a cult 1990s USA network series starring Peta Wilson, but the current television version starring Maggie Q on CW.  There’s just something about a rogue lady agent that American audiences can’t get enough of.

3.) Notorious (1946)

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 thriller about Alicia, a reluctant femme fatale spy (Ingrid Bergman) forced into a a game of cat and mouse with a former Nazi official hiding out in Brazil after WWII, is one of his most interesting movies.  Bergman’s blend of intelligence and seduction manages to capture the heart of her sardonic handler, the slick T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant).  Along the way, Hitchcock manages to make one of his most intense and captivating movies one of his most romantic.    Although the ending has our female protagonist needing to be “saved” by the romantic lead, Hitchcock’s impeccable use of suspense and foreshadowing are top notch right up until the inevitable finale.

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