Tag Archives: Spy

Over The Wall. Under The Gun

My wife and I have just finished watching the recent eight-part German TV series penned by American writer Anna Winger (author of novel “This Must Be The Place”), titled “Deutschland ’83”.

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Jonas Nay
Jonas Nay

Martin Rauch (Jonas Nay – “Summer Solstice”, “We Are Young, We Are Strong”) is a border guard in communist East Germany in 1983, where he lives with his mother Ingrid Rauch (Carina N. Wiese – “The Book Thief”, “Alarm Für Cobra 11”) and dates local girl Annett Schneider (Sonja Gerhardt – “Sin & Illy Still Alive”,  “Stuttgart Homicide”).

Carina N. Wiese & Sonja Gerhardt
Carina N. Wiese & Sonja Gerhardt

The Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA), part of the Ministry for State Security (Stasi) in East Germany, are tasked by Russian president Yuri Andropov and the Kremlin with finding out what plans the U.S. has for their new Pershing II missiles that are being located in West Germany.

Sylvester Groth & Maria Schrader
Sylvester Groth & Maria Schrader

Martin is asked by his aunt Lenora Rauch (Maria Schrader – “Lose My Self”, “In Darkness”) and her boss Walter Schweppenstette (Sylvester Groth – “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”, “The Reader”) to go to West Germany undercover, using the codename Kolibri, to work for General Wolfgang Edel (Ulrich Noethen – “Downfall”, “Broken Glass Park” who is liaising with N.A.T.O. on the deployment of the missiles.

Ulrich Noethen
Ulrich Noethen

Unwilling to go, Martin finds himself drugged and spirited away to West Germany where he comes round to find he now has little choice other than to assume the identity of Moritz Stamm and become General Edel’s new aide-de-camp and report back to the HVA.

The situation is fraught with complications and dangers, not least the ever-escalating belief in the East that the U.S. is about to launch a nuclear strike against the U.S.S.R. from West Germany.

Ludwig Trepte
Ludwig Trepte

Along the way we meet a variety of characters who become important to the story in different ways including Martin / Moritz’s colleague (and son of the General) Alex Edel (Ludwig Trepte – “Out Of Hand”, “1864”), the General’s wayward daughter Yvonne Edel (Lisa Tomaschewsky – “The Girl With Nine Wigs”, “Hut In The Woods”) and Professor Tobias Tischbier (Alexander Beyer – “The Fifth Estate”, “Goodbye Lenin!”) who also works for the HVA.

Lisa Tomaschewsky
Lisa Tomaschewsky

Set against the real-life events leading to the nearest escalation to nuclear war in recent memory, lots of stock footage of news reports from the time, with a great eye for detail in the differences in culture and society between the East and the West, and with great use of hit singles from the era, we found this to be both entertaining and gripping.

Alexander Beyer
Alexander Beyer

It almost beggars belief that the world’s super powers could come so close to mutually assured destruction. And even though there may be some dramatic license taken – indeed this C.I.A. report seems to indicate that things were not a serious as the programme suggests – it makes for powerful viewing.

The series didn’t do as well in Germany as hoped, apparently, but has been pretty well received elsewhere, leading to the possibility of a follow-up series “Deutschland ’86” and even making it a trilogy with “Deutschland ’89”, the year the Berlin Wall was re-opened after twenty-eight years. I would certainly tune in, should that turn out to be the case. Great stuff…Deutschland83_H48002_151214

He Was A Cold War Spy… Or Was He?

An old British spy comedy was today’s viewing. From director Ralph Thomas (“Deadlier Than The Male”, “The 39 Steps”), the 1964 release is titled “Hot Enough For June”.

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Lionel Davidson - Night Of Wenceslas
Lionel Davidson – Night Of Wenceslas

Loosely based on the 1960 spy novel “The Night Of Wenceslas” by British author Lionel Davidson, the movie was also known as “Agent 8¾” in the US.

The film opens with Roger Allsop (John Le Mesurier – “The Italian Job”, “Dad’s Army”) passing over the belongings of a deceased agent, which are put into a locker marked “007”. Allsop and his boss, Colonel Cunliffe (Robert Morley – “Theatre Of Blood”, “Murder At The Gallop”) then discuss the need to find someone to send behind the Iron Curtain to collect something.

Robert Morley & John Le Mesurier
Robert Morley & John Le Mesurier

Meanwhile an unemployed author, Nicholas Whistler (Dirk Bogarde – “Accident”, “A Bridge Too Far”), is sent by the employment exchange to an interview for what he believes to be a trainee executive role with a glass company with Cunliffe.

Dirk Bogarde
Dirk Bogarde

To his great surprise Whistler is given the job and sent off to Pargue in communist Czechoslovakia where he is to make contact with someone at the glass factory there and return to London with the information that he is given.

Sylva Koscina
Sylva Koscina

Upon arrival Whistler is provided with a driver, Vlasta Simoneva (Sylva Koscina – “Deadlier Than The Male”, “The Last Roman”), who also acts as his guide. Whistler is instantly attracted to Simoneva and does his best to seduce her, little realising that she is a secret police agent.

Sylva Koscina & Dirk Bogarde
Sylva Koscina & Dirk Bogarde

How long will it be before Whistler realises that he is working for the British intelligence services and will he be able to complete his mission even though everyone else seems to know more about what it is than he does?…

Dirk Bogarde & Sylva Koscina
Dirk Bogarde & Sylva Koscina

Although this isn’t a comedy film filled with laughs, it certainly has a light-hearted approach to the spy genre, aided by that introductory tip of the hat to the quintessential British spy James Bond. Bogarde plays his role superbly with a mixture of bemusement and, later on, determination whilst Koscina adds the obligatory glamour.

Not an essential film, but still an entertaining way to while away and hour and a half on a quiet afternoon…hot_enough_for_june

Every Secret Comes With A Price

My wife and I watched a drama thriller film last night from director John Madden (“Killshot”, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”). Released in 2010 “The Debt” was a British / American remake of the 2007 Israeli movie “Ha-Hov” with some character and plot differences.top

Romi Aboulafia
Romi Aboulafia

At the beginning of the movie we listen as, in 1997, Sarah Gold (Romi Aboulafia – “Joe + Belle”, “Shabatot VeHagim”) speaks at a presentation for her new book and describes a mission undertaken by three Mossad agents – including her mother and father – in East Berlin in 1965 that forms the basis for her book.

Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas & Sam Worthington
Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas & Sam Worthington

Large portions of the film are flashbacks to 1965. There we see Rachel Singer (Jessica Chastain – “The Martian”, “A Most Violent Year”) entering East Berlin in order to meet up with her two fellow agents Stephan Gold (Marton Csokas – “The Equalizer”, “Noah”) and David Peretz (Sam Worthington – “Clash Of The Titans”, “Macbeth”).

Jesper Christensen
Jesper Christensen

Their mission is to kidnap a practising gynecologist, Doctor Bernhardt who they believe to actually be a Nazi war criminal named Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christensen – “Spectre”, “Melancholia”) – known as the Surgeon of Birkenau and take him back to Israel to face trial.

Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren

These scenes are interspersed with scenes from 1997 where we watch the scarred Rachel (Helen Mirren – “Brighton Rock”, “Excalibur”), her now ex-husband Stephan (Tom Wilkinson – “Selma”, “Unfinished Business”) and David (Ciarán Hinds – “Above Suspicion : Silent Scream”,”The Woman In Black”).

Tom Wilkinson
Tom Wilkinson

These three are the only ones who know the truth about how their mission went awry in East Berlin and try to deal with the reality that is suddenly about to make itself known thirty years down the line just as Sarah’s book celebrates the accepted version of their mission…

Ciarán Hinds
Ciarán Hinds

A thrilling film looking at the weight of the truth vs living with a lie we were very impressed with “The Debt”. As a spy thriller it feels rather more real than many others of its type. Although not based on fact, the baddie is presumably based at least in part on the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele who evaded capture and justice by hiding out in Brazil, and it must be said that Christensen makes a fabulous bad guy – just as he did in the Bond movies he appeared in.

Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas & Sam Worthington
Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas & Sam Worthington

There is a scene that plays twice during the film. Once when part of a narration from Sarah’s book and then later during the flashbacks. When it runs through the second time and suddenly there’s a deviation from what you expect to see it’s a bit of a shock but sets up the rest of the movie perfectly.

“The Debt” is gripping stuff and definitely recommended for anyone who enjoys a decent espionage tale…bottom

Saving The World Never Goes Out Of Style

The other evening my wife and I caught the adventure comedy spy movie from director / co-writer Guy Ritchie (“Snatch”, “Sherlock Holmes”) recently released – “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”.

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Henry Cavill
Henry Cavill

In 1963 former thief, now agent working for the CIA, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill – “Man Of Steel”, “Blood Creek”) is tasked with extracting the daughter of an alleged ex-Nazi scientist Udo Teller (Christian Berkel – “Anti-Social”, “Inglourious Basterds”) from East Berlin, from right under the noses of the KGB.

Armie Hammer & Alicia Vikander
Armie Hammer & Alicia Vikander

Having got the daughter, Gaby (Alicia Vikander – “Ex Machina”, “Seventh Son”), out Solo is then informed by his superiors that he must now work with Gaby and a KGB agent named Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer – “The Lone Ranger”, “The Social Network”) to track down Teller and prevent his employers using his knowledge to build a nuclear weapon.

Elizabeth Debicki & Luca Calvani
Elizabeth Debicki & Luca Calvani

The three head off to Rome, with Gaby and Kuryakin posing as an engaged couple, where they attend a racing event being hosted by Teller’s employers , Alexnader and Victoria Vinciguerra (Luca Calvani – “When In Rome”, “The International” and Elizabeth Debicki – “Macbeth”, “Everest”).

Henry Cavill & Elizabeth Debicki
Henry Cavill & Elizabeth Debicki

Naturally it’s not long before the Vinciguerras have their suspicions about Solo and Kuryakin and when Gaby reveals the pair’s true identities to Alexander and Solo falls into the hands of Victoria it looks like their fates may be sealed…

Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant

Hugh Grant (“Love Actually”, “Cloud Atlas”) pops up later in the film as British agent Alexander Waverly and ex-football legend David Beckham scores a minor role as a projectionist in an early scene.

Guy Ritchie & David Beckham
Guy Ritchie & David Beckham

Critical opinion seems to be split on the merits of this movie. For our part, we found it be great fun.

There are some great action sequences, with lots of humour thrown in to those scenes and to the dialogue. That’s not to say that it’s a spoof in the manner of “Get Smart”, more that it uses humour in a similar way to Roger Moore-era Bond movies – we saw parallels with animated TV series “Archer” too.

Elizabeth Debicki, Alicia Vikander, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer & Hugh Grant
Elizabeth Debicki, Alicia Vikander, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer & Hugh Grant

A good pairing, Cavill plays Solo in a calm and restrained manner and Hammer impresses as Kuryakin too. We did think that Debicki, whilst being a very cool customer, was rather too thin, but Vikander was bang-on as Gaby and Grant made the most of his time on-screen.

Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander & Henry Cavill
Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander & Henry Cavill

The locations looked good, the jazzy soundtrack fit the mood perfectly and the costume department did a fabulous job. Not as essential as Ritchie’s “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels” to be honest, but this is still a very entertaining film. The ending sets it up perfectly for a sequel too…

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Alive And Well And Swinging In Copenhagen…

After making “Valley Of The Dolls” in 1967, Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski married in London during January 1968 leading Tate to take a short break from work. However, by the summer of that year she had started work on what would be her last film to be released (January 1969 in the UK) before her death – “The Wrecking Crew”.

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HELM2copyDirected by Phil Karlson (“The Silencers”, “Kid Galahad”), “The Wrecking Crew” was the fourth, and ultimately final, movie to feature the character of Matt Helm and was loosely based on the 1960 novel of the same name by author Donald Hamilton.

Nigel Green
Nigel Green

As the film opens we are witnessing the robbery of a billion dollars worth of gold from a train in Denmark by a gang working for Count Massimo Contini (Nigel Green – “Deadlier Than The Male”, “The Ipcress File”), who watches the action unfold on monitors in his château and is intent on causing financial chaos throughout the Western world.

Elke Sommer
Elke Sommer

Contini is aided in his quest by his glamorous sidekick  and lover Linka Karensky (Elke Sommer – “A Shot In The Dark”, “Lisa And The Devil”), who makes her appearance in a quite show stopping dress.

Dean Martin
Dean Martin

Womanising professional photographer and wisecracking agent Matt Helm (Dean Martin – “Ocean’s 11”, “Bandolero!”) is dispatched by his organisation ICE, under direction from the US President, to Copenhagen with 48 hours to retrieve the gold and save the American economy.

Tina Louise
Tina Louise

Arriving at his hotel Matt is invited to the room of Lola Medina (Tina Louise – “The Stepford Wives”, “The Warrior Empress”), a dancer who was Contini’s lover until Karensky arrived on the scene, who claims to have useful information about the robbery of the gold that will help him, but Medina is killed in an explosion.

Sharon Tate & Dean Martin
Sharon Tate & Dean Martin

Freya Carlson (Sharon Tate – “Don’t Make Waves”, “Valley Of The Dolls”) , a seemingly inept worker from the Danish tourist bureau, is provided to Matt to help him by arranging a photographic shoot at Contini’s château as cover for his investigations. Freya wears glasses and thus Matt fails to see her beauty despite his fondness for chasing the fairer sex.

Nancy Kwan
Nancy Kwan

At the château it becomes apparent that Contini is on to them so Matt and Freya make a hasty exit and find themselves pursued by a variety of characters, including Yu-Rang (Nancy Kwan – “The Peking Medallion”, “Wonder Women”), and others of Contini’s hired hands.

Elke Sommer
Elke Sommer

Karensky then invites Matt to her room, claiming that she wants to enter into a partnership with him and get out away from Contini. Their head-to-head is interrupted by Freya’s arrival leading to Matt leaving Karensky with the promise that she has a deal and should call him.

Sharon Tate  Dean Martin
Sharon Tate & Dean Martin

Returning to his hotel, Matt finds Freya has shed her glasses and slipped into a slinky white mini-dress for what is, for me, the best scene of the whole movie as Freya dances slowly around the room whilst handing Matt and cigarette and drink – all for no apparent reason!

John Larch
John Larch

Matt’s boss MacDonald (John Larch – “Dirty Harry”, “The Amityville Horror”) arrives at the hotel and informs a disbelieving Matt that Freya is actually a highly trained British agent.

Sharon Tate & Nancy Kwan
Sharon Tate & Nancy Kwan

From there on in Matt and Freya contend with a number of scenarios involving Yu-Rang, Karensky and Contini in his quest to retrieve the gold for ICE…

Dean Martin
Dean Martin

There was supposed to have been a fifth Matt Helm movie, indeed as with the James Bond films this one ends with the announcement of the title of the next film (“The Ravagers”) during the end credits, but it was cancelled after Dean Martin pulled out.

thirteen-chairs-posterSharon Tate, meanwhile, went on to film “The Thirteen Chairs” (otherwise known as “12 + 1”) with Orson Welles and Terry-Thomas in early 1969, shortly after becoming pregnant. That film is seemingly more or less impossible to find these days, with the exception of an Italian language version on YouTube, unfortunately. Tate was murdered, only weeks before she was due to give birth, before that film’s release.

Sharon Tate
Sharon Tate

In truth, Martin was getting a little long in the tooth for the role of Matt Helm by this point, but plays things with his tongue firmly in his cheek. Tate, however, was great, showed promise on the comedy front and managed to upstage Sommer completely (despite the latter’s variety of plunging dresses) with her performance in the second half of the movie.

Explosion
Explosion

Ultimately this film is a light-hearted spy caper. It’s full of gentle humour, action, hip and swinging 60s music, gadgets, explosions and hot chicks.

Highly recommended!

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Manners Maketh Man

Last night’s movie entertainment was provided by the latest from director Matthew Vaughn (“Layer Cake”, “X-Men : First Class”, the spy comedy thriller “Kingsman : The Secret Service”.

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Colin Firth
Colin Firth

The film opens in the Middle East in 1997, where an agent dies whilst trying to protect the rest of his team from death. His teammate Harry Hart (Colin Firth – “Before I Go To Sleep”, “Devil’s Knot”), codenamed Galahad, delivers a bravery medal to the dead man’s widow, with a number engraved on the back for her, or her young son Eggsy, to call if they ever need a “favour”.

Jack Davenport & Mark Hamill
Jack Davenport & Mark Hamill

Seventeen years later another agent, codenamed Lancelot (Jack Davenport – “Pirates Of The Caribbean”), is killed whilst trying to rescue kidnapped Professor Arnold (Mark Hamill – “Star Wars”).

Taron Egerton Colin Firth
Taron Egerton & Colin Firth

Meanwhile Eggsy (Taron Egerton – “The Smoke”), grown up to be a streetwise sportswear-clad youth, finds himself in trouble with the police for stealing a car, so calls the number on the back of his late dad’s bravery medal that he wears around his neck.

Michael Caine
Michael Caine

Galahad arranges for Eggy’s release and, seeing potential, gets him onto the recruitment and training boot camp for Kingsman, the secret service for whom he works, which is headed up by Arthur (Michael Caine – “Stonehearst Asylum”, “Sleuth”).

Mark Strong & Sophie Cookson
Mark Strong & Sophie Cookson

Eggsy joins a group of other candidates, including Roxy (Sophie Cookson – “Moonfleet”), all from private schools are clearly posh, and all aiming to become the new Lancelot under the watchful eye of Merlin (Mark Strong – “Welcome To The Punch”), a senior member of Kingsman.

Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson

Celebrities and VIPs from all over the globe are disappearing without trace, and Internet billionaire Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson – “Avengers : Age Of Ultron”, “Big Game”) seems to be involved.

Sofia Boutella
Sofia Boutella

Valentine, aided by his lethal sidekick Gazelle (Sofia Boutella – “Street Dance 2”), has plans to deal with the inevitable over-population of Earth with a diabolical plan to be triggered by his own special SIM cards, distributed free to everyone.

Galahad is tasked with investigating Valentine, but it’s not long before the combined resources of Eggsy, Merlin and Roxy are called for.

Mark Millar Dave Gibbons - The Secret Service
Mark Millar & Dave Gibbons – The Secret Service

The two hours and ten minute runtime of this movie flew by, such was the entertainment on offer. With tongue firmly in cheek often, the film harks back to the irreverance found in the Roger Moore era of James Bond films, and is very loosely based on the 2012 comic book series “The Secret Service” by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons.

There is plenty of style and clever gadgets on show, but ultimately it’s the performances – particularly those of Egerton, Firth and Strong – that make this film so watchable. All in all, it’s great fun and worthy of a sequel or two…

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A Spy Is Never Out Of The Game

“The November Man” is a 2014 American spy film, directed by Roger Donaldson (“The Bank Job”, “The Recruit”).

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Bill Granger
Bill Granger “The November Man”

The movie is based on the 1979 book “There Are No Spies”, written by the late Bill Granger, a Chicago based novelist who wrote a number of political thrillers whilst also contributing to the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

The film opens in 2008 with CIA officer Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan – “Die Another Day”, “The Ghost”) working on an operation with his partner / pupil David Mason (Luke Bracey – “G.I. Joe Retaliation”) to protect a US Ambassador in Montenegro.

After an innocent child’s life is lost when his Mason doesn’t follow his orders, Devereaux retires to open a coffee shop in Switzerland.

Pierce Brosnan & Bill Smitrovich
Pierce Brosnan & Bill Smitrovich

Five years later, Devereaux’s former CIA boss, John Hanley (Bill Smitrovich – “Ted”, “Iron Man”) visits him in Switzerland and persuades him to come back on board to extract a CIA officer, Natalia Ulanova (Mediha Musliovic –  “Estrellita”) who has been working undercover in Russia as aide to former Russian army General Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski – “Casino Royale”). Fedorov is now a Russian presidential candidate and Ulanova has found information on a witness who can connect Federov to war crimes relating to the second Chechen war.

Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan

Unknown to Devereaux, Hanley has sent a separate team to extract the Ulanova, who are, in turn, unaware of Devereaux’s presence. The extraction goes wrong. When the FSB give chase, Devereaux is able to pick Ulanova up, but the CIA team are ordered by Hanley’s boss Perry Weinstein (Will Patton – “No Way Out”) to eliminate her – fearing she has fallen into the hands of the Russians. Before she dies, Ulanova hands information regarding the witness, named as Mira Filipova, to Devereaux.

Luke Bracey
Luke Bracey

Devereaux calls Hanley with the witness’s name and then chases down to CIA extraction team, only to find himself face to face with his former pupil, Mason. Both stunned, they walk away will become enbroiled in a desperate and complicated game of cat and mouse.

Olga Kurylenko
Olga Kurylenko

Discovering that Filipova, who seems to have disappeared several years prior, has links to refugee case worker Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko – “Quantum Of Solace, “Hitman”), Devereaux tracks her down, just ahead of an assassin sent by Federov.

Luke Bracey & Will Patton
Luke Bracey & Will Patton

With Mason, now under orders from Weinstein, hot on his trail, Devereaux must try to locate Filipova and obtain her evidence even as he tries to make sense of who he can trust…

Brosnan announced his intention to bring “The November Man” to the big screen in 2005, following his being replaced with Daniel Craig in the James Bond film franchise. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that the film entered production.

Part James Bond movie (hardly surprising with Brosnan in the lead spy role!), part Jason Bourne, part conspiracy theory, this is a good, solid thriller. The plot is complex, in terms of who has what agenda, as both friends and enemies appear to be equally untrustworthy, but this just adds to the suspense of the movie.

Olga Kurylenko
Olga Kurylenko

Not the most original concept for a film – but then, is there any scenario involving spies, car chases, beautiful women, double crossing, guns, etc. that hasn’t already been done? There may be further movies to come, as the Devereaux character appeared in a number of Granger novels, and I, for one, would be more than happy to see that happen as I was thoroughly entertained throughout this film and found the plot pretty credible.

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A Most Wanted Man

“A Most Wanted Man”, directed by Anton Corbijn, and based on a 2008 espionage novel by John Le Carré is one of the final movie appearances by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

A Most Wanted Man Poster

Metallica by Anton Corbijn
Metallica by Anton Corbijn

Corbijn is known mostly for his photographic and video work with a number of rock bands, including U2, Metallica and Depeche Mode, and this is his second non-music based feature, following 2010’s “The American”, starring George Clooney.

Hoffman plays Günther Bachmann, a world weary but dogged German espionage agent, who is on the trail of Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a suspected Muslim Jihadist from Chechnya who has appeared in Hamburg.

Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman

Bachmann and his team are also interested in a local Muslim philanthropist, Dr. Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi), who they believe is sending funds to terrorist organisations, although they are not yet able to prove this.

Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe & Grigoriy Dobrygin
Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe & Grigoriy Dobrygin

Karpov is introduced to an human rights lawyer, Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams), who wants to help him stay in Germany. Richter also helps him to contact banker Tommy Brue (Willem Dafoe), whose father had done business with Karpov’s father, and who is holding something in his bank vault for Karpov.

That something turns out to be a large sum of money. Initially Karpov rejects the cash, due to complications with his parentage, but Bachmann is able to use his various methods to get to first Richter, and then Karpov, and persuade them to use the money to help him implicate Dr. Abdullah and, in turn, persuade him to help get to the people further up the terror chain.

American agent Martha Sullivan (Robin Wright) and German security official Dieter Mohr (Rainer Bock) are interested in the cases of both Karpov and Dr. Abdullah, giving Bachmann an additional headache, although they agree to allow him to run things as he sees best, in order to obtain the best possible result. But, can they be trusted, or will their own priorities and agenda take over?

Robin Wright & Philip Seymour Hoffman
Robin Wright & Philip Seymour Hoffman

As events pan out, we see the way that the various security agencies and supposed allies can work against each other at the same time as seeming to work with each other, and how the end result can mean compromising the long term objective in order to gain a short term victory, and the devastating effects that can have on some of the players.

Willem Dafoe & Rachel McAdams
Willem Dafoe & Rachel McAdams

This is an excellent spy thriller, well written and beautifully filmed. All the main actors perform very well. I was impressed by McAdams, whose previous work I am not that familiar with.

Hoffman, though, is undoubtedly the star of this film. I had previously enjoyed his acting in “Magnolia”, “Mission : Impossible III”, the fabulous “Almost Famous” and particularly “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead”, and his performance in this film really is top notch. What a loss to cinema his untimely death earlier this year is.

Philip Seymour Hoffman & Rachel McAdams
Philip Seymour Hoffman & Rachel McAdams