Tom Farrell is a navy officer who gets posted at the Pentagon and is to report to the secretary of defense David Brice. He starts an affair with Susan Atwell not knowing that she is Brice's mistress. When Susan is found dead, Tom is assigned to the case of finding the killer who is believed to be a KGB mole! Tom could soon become a suspect when a Polaroid negative of him was found at Susan's place. He now has only a few hours to find the killer before the computer regenerates the photo.
A coverup and witchhunt occur after a politician accidentally kills his mistress.
It's the premise that makes this one - but if you haven't seen it, don't read any farther, as here thar be
* * * * SPOILERS * * * *
The screenwriter did the research, that much is certain, and there are inaccuracies galore, but that's movie-making. In particular, the plot hinges on the believability of how computers are used - and as per usual, things are very weak.
Early on we hear how the chief programmer is going to write a routine to search a database; the entire process may take an hour, who knows. The centre 'interfaces' with the '370s' in Fort Meade - this is realistic. 370s are the workhorse IBM big iron mainframes probably in use by the NSA at the time.
But when it comes to finding a Moroccan gem box in a database, our hero suddenly has to wait on a lugubrious printout. Ouch. If time had been of the essence, and it was, a simple search could have been done, and the results could have been there in a matter of minutes.
Then again, if the computer whiz was actually going to insert the record in the database, he could just as easily have sent a job to a printer to get the record printed out immediately. No reason to wait in either case.
Of course without the printout we don't have the story. We not only lose the story, we also lose the Hitchcock tension. This is a brilliant movie with a brilliant plot and premise, and it doesn't really matter if details are wrong as per usual when it comes to computers in films. Yes, it would have been nicer if they could have done it with realistic computer use, but it's unlikely Hollywood will ever worry about such trivial matters. Even for IT professionals the plot works because the premise is so good.
This is a definite keeper. It's dated but does well, and looks even better when put up against the 'schlopp' coming out of Hollywood these days. I am usually a sucker for good thrillers, but I seem to be one of few that has found this film to be at best mediocre, especially considering the presence of Kevin Costner and (especially) Gene Hackman.
The plot is so ridiculous (to put it mildly) that I find myself unable to accept it and therefore enjoy the movie as such. There are too many flaws, to many unanswered questions, too many inconsistencies... The premise in itself would have been acceptable, but everything else seems to have been inserted without any thought, without any prior research, even without common sense in my opinion. The resulting situations are sometimes even funny, bordering on the grotesque, which definitely cannot be considered as a plus for a thriller which appears to take itself seriously. And then there is the ending... (no comment)
All in all, a below average movie. The action is tight and suspenseful, and the plot culminates in the most astounding last-minute switch of the decade. Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman shine as the main characters, and Will Patton leads a solid supporting cast. a5c7b9f00b
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