The Catcher Was A Spy is a period film that combines baseball, espionage, and war. The film plays more as a drama than a thriller.
Espionage films usually mean people kicking ass, but it’s not what happens in The Catcher Was A Spy, unless you’re referring to one’s intellect. Pardon the pun but it’s a nice curveball for the genre. One should not expect to get a James Bond movie even though Bond is what set the standard for the genre.
Moe Berg (Paul Rudd) was a catcher for the Boston Red Sox and spent 15 years in the league. He’s at a point in his career where he’s reluctant to hang it up, but Red Sox manager Joe Cronin (Shea Wigham) wants him to take on a role as a coach. The film focuses so much on the espionage that baseball takes a side role very quickly. Berg had been invited to participate in Babe Ruth’s Japanese tour, where the catcher also secretly filmed activity from a rooftop as a private citizen.
It’s while Berg is in Japan that the film alludes to his being a closeted gay man when he is seen holding hands with Japanese delegate Isao Kawabata (Hiroyuki Sanada). The film makes many references to Berg’s sexuality, but at the same time, he never answers the question and that’s okay. People should be allowed to come out on their own time, not at the time in which others want them to do so.
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DIRECTOR: Ben Lewin
SCREENWRITER: Robert Rodat
CAST: Paul Rudd, Mark Strong, Jeff Daniels, Sienna Miller, with Guy Pearce and Paul Giamatti
Following the world premiere during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, IFC Films opens The Catcher Was A Spy in select theaters and VOD platforms on June 22, 2018.