A 1984 film based on a true story about friends, drugs, and espionage. The book was written by Robert Lindsey, and the film was directed by John Schlesinger and featured Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn as the amateur spys.
Hutton plays Christopher Boyce, who gets a job with RTX, a company that works with top secrets of the U.S.Government. Finding these secrets, Boyce decides to sell out, already disillusioned with his country over the war in Vietnam, and now discovering other covert actions with which he disagrees. His friend Daulton Lee, played brilliantly by Penn, is a coke snorting drug pusher who needs the cash, knows Mexico well, and decides to approach the Russian Embassy in Mexico City with secret documents to sell.
These efforts and their results keep this true life story, set in 1975, intriguing, and often, hilarious. Boyce steals secret documents on a monthly basis and Daulton delivers them. Penn's portrayal of Daulton Lee is riveting. Penn visited the real Daulton Lee in the Lompoc Correctional Facility in California, where he's serving a life sentence. Wanting to resemble Lee as much as possible, Penn gained twenty pounds, wore nose spreaders, blue contact lenses , and dentures. He trimmed back his eyebrows and had a pencil thin mustache applied.
In the same vein, Hutton visited Boyce in the Marion Penitentiary in Illinois. He and Boyce went over the script and elaborated on actual events. Hutton also studied falconing, which was Boyce's obsession, and which appears in the film. Both Penn and Hutton are outstanding. Since we know the real spies are in prison, the suspense builds throughout the film, wondering when and how the two will be caught. The wait is worth it.