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Re: Frankenheimer's RONIN (1998)
DeNiro's character behaves as if he's an independent who can reluctantly still ask for the co-operation of his former colleagues and perhaps get it, until he admits, in a dialog near the end of the film, "I never left." Meaning the CIA. So he's all these things -- an independent mercenary soldier, a former agent, an undercover former agent, and an undercover agent. In other words, he's an undercover CIA agent masquerading as a mercenary soldier who used to be an agent. Whatever, it works for me. Robin Williams used to do a hilarious riff on one of DeNiro's dialogs in this film.
"I've been to college, but I can still speak English when business demands it."
Raymond Chandler, 1939.
"All explaining in movies can be thrown out, I think."
Elmore Leonard, 2013.