Near great, but marred by silly theatrics that do nothing but contrive reasons for the actors to do and say great things; the final ten minutes are especially preachy and cliché-ridden. Allen, Bridges, and Oldman, three of the greatest actors alive, rise above it all to form an incredible trifecta.
I can't blame the trying but, by its holy tentacles, it is not subtle. I have grown allergic to the good, ally, evil narrative that completely obscures the comunal aspects of respect and morality. In this film, what ought to come out is that gender is irrelevant and ought to be treated so; what comes out is that isolated heroes are required to curb the evils of archvilains while the rest stay on the side. Whatever.
Would be better if every shot with Jeff Bridges going on about walnut and cuttlefish sarnies was replaced with Gary Oldman ruining someone's life. The Washington spindoctoring chicanery put me in mind of Robert Altman's Tanner '88 (he did it better over a whole series), and the cheesefest ending made me want to rewatch Errol Morris' The Unknown Known to debrief me back into reality. Still, not bad telly.
I did not see this when it first came out, but I do like the actress (Joan Allen). I thought she gave a Oscar winning performance (all she got was nominated). Maybe it was better I didn't see it when released because it was released in a political hot time. But the movie had great performance's (Slater could of done better) and a surprising ending if you never saw a trailer or read some people's reviews. 5 Stars!