With the length and pedigree of Robert DeNiro’s ‘
The structure of the thing, with its multiple flashbacks and interleaved storylines – personal and Global Politik – by ‘
So, the CIA was founded 50 years ago by a bunch of Yalie, Skull-and-Crossbones, antisemitic, racist, white guys (and – I couldn’t help but reflect, only 6 years to decimate, by one of their ‘own’).
I’m no expert on efficient screenwriting, but it seems to me that much of this film’s domestic drama could have been elided, condensed or eliminated. It is patently absurd that a debutante as incandescent as Angelina Jolie would have to use pregnancy and emotional blackmail to land any up-and-coming Federal bureaucrat, but there it was, the first casting effort that might have been better considered. Ms. Jolie’s screen-presence and her off-screen identity served this role poorly. If the faux Mrs. Angleton was a marriage-climber, they ought to have hired a B- or C-list actress for the role and not fully emancipated Hollywood royalty like Ms. Jolie. Some clinger or half-failed actress like Gretchen Mol, Cameron Diaz or Connie Nielsen might have been a better fit for the role (and made a greater Academy™ impact). Angelina just has too much bling to become the withering wife of an Intelligence bureaucrat, though it is difficult to imagine that they hadn’t yet created the now-clichÃ© Embassy-cover for Intelligence Officers back in the ’50′s. That glamorous life alone would have kept Damon’s family together and kept Ms. Jolie from moving to Arizona(!) to be with her Mum.
White Guys: Casting Alec Baldwin, William Hurt, Billy Crudup, John Tuturro and Joe Pesci in your movie is a triumph, but distributing all of them into small character roles is a misfortune, especially when you need good actors to fill-in your ‘villain’ roles.