Kevin Costner's character, Ethan Renner, is in a dangerous situation. One, he's dying -- months to live. Second, he's in one of those occupations we're "reforming" to think of more in proletariat, working-stiff, terms. He's a superb CIA operative who does the dirty work better than anyone else can. This must have floated him twenty years plus of being a bit shot -- James Bond-like, big shot. But just like how even the current James Bond could be casually insulted by being dandyied the most sparse of supplies -- and by a new young Q who can hardly be daunted by the legend of James Bond owing, evidently, to how much credit geniuses like him are now being routinely given over even top agents -- Ethan's precariously close to having all sense of him as a star being drifted out of him, leaving him an aging, dispensable, workhorse agent, who on his own is going to have to take care of the feeble-pensioned rest of his life.
But he's not there yet. His wife and his daughter, who are meshed in in an affluent, thriving world in Paris, absent, in their feeling occasioned to the times, much doubt, any sense of themselves as about to become society's prole junk, are "things" still open to be touched into wrapping themselves around him into their world, their story.
Some sense of the drastic importance of this course of survival explains why he really does have no interest in the hot, vixen, new top super-agent, Vivi Delay. Also, she fails in being a tease, because being her seems to require a lot of work. All the attention required to keeping each facet perfect, feels straining, like it'll wear her out in a few years, leaving her looking spent at 30 -- no one that young is going to be able to beat what the world will be non-stop inflicting them over the next while. She's got to make a perfect shell out of herself because her life is going to about the non-stop, necessarily every time persuasively perfect -- so to dissuade all the innumerable other onlooking predators -- dextrous dealing with outside assaulting shocks. He might once upon a time have had to do the same, but in a 70s "Dirty Harry" era, where there was still so much more time for the languid and slow-paced -- he'd have been able to press through the intermittently present tense to ease comfortably out to the exterior extensions of his body, so he'd know what it is to fully breathe. An acquisition that would never leave him, and give him assurance to drive into his family's story in this later part of his life.
So I felt sorry for her, for feeling her precarious millenialness. But truth be told, a lot of what I was doing while watching this film was enjoying Ethan beginning to assess the world around him in a more open way. People, things, he'd quarantined a certain way -- a death-focused, agent's way -- he allows to open up to show him more of what they also are -- a dandy Italian accountant working for the villainous "Wolf" can readily be opened into just an Italian possessed of a well-developed life course -- a store of human resources, not just incriminating data; a person. He's seeing the domestic possibilities, the human possibilities, in each situation, which would make killing a very hard thing to do because everyone has something else they contribute to the world other than whatever unfortunate aspects that lend to caricatures. There's a few just-villains kept in place -- some disposable bald guy with a limp, plus some Nazi "Wolf" -- but before Ethan slips from his previous occupation, it looks like he'd made most everyone between the most bad and the most pure-grunt sort of like sweet innards of human contact and sustenance -- ingredients of a collective, evolving, human story.
Crocodile Dundee-like, I suppose, but something only granted to him once he was willing, after a few loud last applauds of Pittsburgh / working class culture -- Go Steelers! -- to forgo the cowboy to slip into refined dress his family would recognize as fitting in -- and how! -- with their more truly activated life. Just barely, he made the first-class train he yet held a ticket to. Now over time he can relax into his new preened, absolutely perfect, silver-bullet life shell, with, it turns out, a good bulk of his life yet left to heft into it (an experimental drug -- normally only available to the 1% -- proves a cure-all).