The Assignment | Chicago Reader

The Assignment

By eating inordinate amounts of oatmeal and going down on two strange women without the benefit of latex, Aidan Quinn, a ringer for elusive terrorist Carlos the Jackal, is supposed to be able to transform himself into a perfect double for the master criminal. With the tough love of CIA agent Donald Sutherland and Israeli intelligence officer Ben Kingsley to mold him, Quinn's character will help these operatives with a plot to force the KGB to assassinate the real Carlos. Some credit must go to Quinn and Kingsley for managing to be mildly convincing during some ridiculous maneuvers, but Sutherland's role is just too outrageous. That adultery is somehow worse than murder is one treasured theme of this 1997 movie, whose script, by Dan Gordon and Sabi H. Shabtai, is really just an elaborate excuse to have an actor face off against himself—Quinn has a dual role—in a climactic scene that's supposed to infuse mystery into a tired fantasy about how sexual finesse is the cornerstone of a man's ability to manipulate women and countries. Christian Duguay directed.

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