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Too Many Secrets: Sneakers

Whistler: “I want peace on earth and goodwill toward men.”

Abbot: “We are the United States government! We don’t do that sort of thing!”

Along with L.A. Confidential, which I wrote about here, one of my favorite all-time movies is Sneakers, made in 1992 and directed by Phil Alden Robinson. It’s a light, funny caper film, with a lot of ridiculous but enjoyable hacker nonsense and a great ensemble cast. I first saw it when I was working in a theater pub in Florida, and during its run there I saw twice a night for about two weeks. And that still wasn’t enough: I owned it on VHS and I’ve probably watched it another dozen times in my life. It’s still one of those films that, if it’s on TV, I’ll sit and watch it every single time. Major spoilers to follow.

Robert Redford is Martin Bishop, the head of a security firm who, as a teenager, got caught hacking into bank accounts and computer networks and fled to Canada, leaving his friend Cosmo to take the rap and the jail time. Sydney Poitier is the tightly wound ex-CIA agent Donald Crease, Bishop’s partner at the firm. The rest of the team is comprised of Darryl “Mother” Roskow (Dan Aykroyd), a technician with a head full of conspiracy theories, Erwin Emory, known as “Whistler” (David Strathairn), a blind computer whiz whose sharp ears make up for his lack of sight, and Carl Arbogast (River Phoenix), a young, earnest, yet somewhat awkward prodigy.

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