Sneakers [1992]

Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Stars: Robert Redford, Dan Akyroyd, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnel, River Phoenix
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 126 minutes

This enjoyable thriller, written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson (the screenwriter of Field of Dreams), follows a raggedy group of corporate security experts who get in over their heads when they accept an assignment poaching some hot hardware for the National Security Agency. Robert Redford plays the group's guru, an aging techno-anarchist who has been hiding from the feds since the early 1970s; his companionable gang of freaks includes Dan Aykroyd, David Strathairn, Mary McDonnell, the late River Phoenix, and Sidney Poitier, as a veteran CIA operative turned "sneaker." The technological black box that everybody is after, an array of computer chips that can decode any encrypted message, isn't a very plausible invention, but it's a serviceable McGuffin, and the megalomania of the master plotter played by Ben Kingsley has more resonance than most. Modest inferences can be drawn about the very latest high-tech threats to civil liberties. --David Chute

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