Based on fact, this absorbing film tells the story of Christopher Boyce and Daulton Lee, two young upper-middle-class southern Californians who were convicted of selling secrets to the Soviet Union in 1977.
Boyce (Timothy Hutton), the more introspective of the pair and the son of a former FBI man (Pat Hingle), works for a company that does top-secret work for the CIA. Already disillusioned by the American experience in Vietnam, the idealistic Hutton completely loses faith in his government when he
learns the CIA has been meddling in the internal affairs of Australia, and decides to become a traitor. He enlists the help of his directionless friend Lee (Sean Penn), who has been in and out of trouble with the law, but who continues using and dealing drugs. The security at Hutton's company is
astonishingly lax, and he easily steals sensitive documents, which Penn delivers to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City.
Directed by John Schlesinger, THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN is both a spy drama and an intriguing character study. Penn invests his "Snowman" with fascinating eccentricity and is the more interesting of the pair, though Hutton delivers an estimable performance as the sullen young falconer.
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