The Falcon and the Snowman | Chicago Reader

The Falcon and the Snowman

The true story of Christopher Boyce (Timothy Hutton) and Daulton Lee (Sean Penn), two amateur spies convicted of selling satellite secrets to the KGB. The film is hopelessly crippled by the commercially motivated decision to turn Boyce into a blandly likable, perfectly transparent audience identification figure; director John Schlesinger completely blanks out what seems to have been some fairly complex psychology, and simply holds up flash cards reading “resentment of father” and “post-Watergate disillusionment” to explain Boyce's motivations. But the whole middle section of the film, in which drug dealer Lee tries to establish his Moscow connection through the Soviet embassy in Mexico City, is a hilarious comedy adventure, shot with much more funk and verve than anyone would expect in a Schlesinger film. Regrettably, the director returns to his usual strident self for the last half hour, hammering home the moral and political messages through a series of speeches—the quavering, self-righteous speeches that have too often been Hutton's specialty. With Richard Dysart, Pat Hingle, Lori Singer (dubbed, apparently), and David Suchet.

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