Academy Award Winner Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People) and Sean Penn (Dead Man Walking) deliver superb performances in a true-story spy thriller that is scathing and arresting, and laced with white-knuckle excitement. From Oscar winners John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy) and Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List), the film blows the lid off the modern-day American dream with its riveting story of two young men of privilege, money and ambition who end up selling out their country, ruining their families and destroying their lives.
Chris Boyce (Hutton) works a low-level job at a defence plant where he uncovers documents that prove that the C.I.A. is secretly coercing foreign governments. He confides in his conniving, fast-talking friend, Andrew Daulton Lee (Penn), a reckless drug dealer and user, who convinces him to sell this information to the Soviets for big bucks. Lee boldly cuts a deal with the KGB, but soon the stakes spin out of control as the Soviets up the ante. Lee descends further into drug abuse, and the C.I.A. prepare to take the informants down.