A lot of critical bottoms squirmed at this film, which formally describes a pendulum of radicalism over the decades.
The Pandora’s Box is information technology. Your supermarket is watching what you eat, nowadays.
To illustrate the story by means of such a MacGuffin, Robinson has cast his screenplay with the best actors he can find, and directed them well. This alone ought to have put the critics on notice, but there you are.
It’s certainly well-filmed and very amusing, and Robinson has surprising technique. Redford is in the villain’s inner sanctum being informed, a medium long shot has him in focus against a blurry background that isolates and diminishes him.
The critics’ interpretation of their underlying feelings is that Sneakers is somehow old hat, which makes for a very tall order in New Hollywood.
The Sum of All Fears
A joke film, based upon the simple misunderstanding provoked by commentators who use the phrase World War III. Robinson imagines quite another meaning, the one in standard usage until quite recently (in fact, up to the time of filming).
This renders an eloquent political cartoon with some of the hairier aspects of the standard meaning, as a reflection and satire of the later one.
Comedy abounds, principally in the stentoriousness of the West Wing cadre, and when the villainous Dressler dies at Dr. Grushkov’s hands, it’s Ben Butley and Reg from Pinter’s film of Simon Gray. Nemerov runs Russia (shades of Telefon), and Ben Affleck has the Richard Chamberlain role.