woah, i found this film hard to watch. i could probably write a theses on why. the world has changed a lot in 30 years, and watching this film makes it hard to decide whether it is for the better or worse. i think we're supposed to think of the russians as the bad guys, but the most gutwrenching scene i've ever witnessed was the montage clocking up afghan kills: 44 helicopters, 28 tanks, 30 fixed wing aircraft etc. etc. i've been to russia, and the people there are great. i had to keep reminding myself that russia 30 years ago was a completely different planet, but the people have been humanised and i couldn't feel comfortable with the celebration of killing. and i live in the 00's so i know that america's coalition has turned on it's head, they've forgotten their alliance and now their elected president bombs the middle east without prejudice. "america doesn't fight religious wars" makes for a rather chilling & memorable line in this movie.
in terms of film-making, very good. strong performances from everyone, notably hoffman who lights up the scene whenever he appears on screen. perhaps a little too slow to get started but once hoffman and hanks hook up, becomes absolutely compelling. it sometimes jumps about a bit too much and it's not as beautifully written as sorkin has previously provided, but the visuals are absorbing, the casting is excellent and direction can't really be criticised. perhaps it should've been longer, the story felt like it was missing bits.
and i'd rather not have this knot in my stomach.