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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Assignment (1997)



Reviews and Comments

The Assignment is an intelligent, thought-provoking political thriller about an attempt to neutralize one of the most vile terrorists in the history of the modern world. His name is Carlos, alias the Jackal. Donald Sutherland -- in one of the best performances of his career -- plays the CIA agent out to get him. He rather forcibly hires Aidan Quinn, a member of the U.S. Navy who bears a striking resemblance to the Jackal. Months of training follow, and I won't tell you anything about their plan.

This is a suspenseful thriller with plenty of twists, but it's also a costly one. The movie takes a frank look at the pressures and psychological torture one must undergo to do this kind of work. It's refreshing to see a thriller strive for, and succeed at, more than chills, thrills, and a two hour diversion. At the same time, the things it delves into are things we may not necessarily want to explore.

From a storytelling point of view, the movie is a vast accomplishment. The two main characters, played by Quinn and Sutherland, are unique and brilliant portrayed. The dialogue is smart, their emotions complex, and they're brought to life vividly.

I recommend this film highly but only to those prepared to receive the disturbing things it has to offer.