A Compassionate Spy
Director: Steve James Run Time: 102 min. Release Year: 2022
Starring: Joan Hall, Theodore Hall
Physicist Ted Hall is recruited to join the Manhattan Project as a teenager and goes to Los Alamos with no idea what he’ll be working on. When he learns the true nature of the weapon being designed, he fears the post-war risk of a nuclear holocaust and begins to pass significant information to the Soviet Union.
Steve James’ career began with the release in 1994 of the award-winning documentary, Hoop Dreams. In 1997, James directed the feature film Prefontaine followed by the TV movies Passing Glory and Joe and Max. His next documentary film Stevie was released in 2002. The Interrupters, a portrayal of a year inside the lives of former gang members in Chicago who now intervene in violent conflicts, was released in 2011 after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was his sixth feature length collaboration with his long-time filmmaking home, the non-profit Chicago production studio Kartemquin Films. To date, James has had nine films or docuseries premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
In 20116, James directed Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and went on to be nominated for an Academy Award, James’ second nomination.
“A Compassionate Spy borrows the look and feel of a historical espionage thriller and builds some momentum and moral complexity along the way, but it finds its real potency as a generational family drama.” ~ Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
“It’s worth being reminded by James’s layered, grippingly told account of a principled betrayal that when it comes to the biggest threats facing the globe, sometimes one person in the right circumstance can make a difference.” ~ Robert Abele, TheWrap