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This woeful local feature can't decide if it wants to be As the World Turns or The Bourne Identity , those being the chief influences,

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SIFF Review: The Spy and the Sparrow

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This woeful local feature can't decide if it wants to be As the World Turns or The Bourne Identity, those being the chief influences, respectively, on its plot and camera work. Retired CIA agent Thomas Sparrow (David Rasche, from the SIFF-opening In the Loop) hasn't seen his daughter in 26 years. Why? Not very clear, especially when Pioneer Square doubles for East Berlin in flashback. Sparrow returns to Seattle to spy on his daughter (Elisabeth Röhm, the lesbian ADA on Law & Order), and the picture ain't pretty: She's a lush, a bit of a slut, a single mother about to loose custody of her young daughter. A cycle of bad parenting is being repeated. Sessions with her therapist (Eric Roberts, warmer than you'd expect) aren't terribly helpful. And the shrink's past CIA connections to Sparrow and the Russian mob aren't terribly clear. Added to the muddle are AA meetings, an estranged half-sister, and a showdown in the empty downtown bus tunnel. (Quite a good location, now unfortunately back in use.) Somewhere, shaking around like the last bean in a coffee tin, there's the irony of a secret agent trying to disclose secrets within his family. But the rest is a fog of flashbacks, purloined letters, and family reconciliation. One wishes for the clarity of Taken, where an overprotective dad proves his love for his daughter by killing as many Albanians as possible. Unfortunately, the lone baddie here is a Russian mobster who sounds Irish. Only Chad Lindberg, as a disheveled, cynical divorce attorney, lends any life to this mess (directed by Garrett Bennett). If his few scenes had been separated from the script (straight to the shredder, please), there might've been the seeds for a decent courtroom comedy--with nary a spy or a sparrow in sight. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

The Spy and the Sparrow Egyptian, 11 a.m. Sat., June 13.

 
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