A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In SNEAKERS, Martin Bishop (Robert Redford), a former radical still wanted by the FBI, runs a security firm that's hired by the National Security Agency to find a computer inside a box that's fallen into the hands of the Russians. Marty and his men (Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix) recover the box and crack its secret: the means to decode and control any computer system in the world. Marty's brilliant former associate Cosmo (Ben Kingsley) steals the box, which he hides in his high-security headquarters, and Marty's team has to break in to recover it. Cosmo's men catch Marty in the act, and the team must rescue him under very difficult circumstances.
Is it any good?
Sneakers is a cleverly written, rapidly paced, and blessedly non-violent thriller. It's a terrific vehicle for Robert Redford, who's in top form in a role tailored to his strengths. His relaxed, intelligent charm is a good foil for the eccentric characters of his colleagues, including David Strathairn, who plays a blind computer whiz. Each of them has his own quirky appeal, and together they create a team that functions according to its own loopy logic.
The movie is at its best in scenes that show the team inventing and putting into action various high-tech shenanigans. It's loads of fun to observe the gang staking out Cosmo's headquarters, or using Marty's ex-girlfriend to tape record a computer geek's secret password. Children who can follow the sophisticated twists and technological lingo will enjoy the ride; others may get lost in the hijinks. The movie stumbles towards the end, when the blind man has to drive a truck in reverse according to Marty's instructions over headphones. Reality flies out the window, and almost ruins the entire enterprise.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Robert Redford's character. Can you think of other movies where he has some of the same traits? Why do actors get typecast? Do you think actors are often like the characters they play? This may lead to a broader discussion about performers and alter egos.