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The plot is based on the real-life story of the arrest of Peter Kroger and his wife in the 1950s. They were a Canadian couple living in the London suburbs who were revealed as having spied for Russia for many years. Their arrest and trial, along with those of other spies, caused a sensation in Britain at that time. See more »
"Pack of Lies" is a very interesting drama which is aptly named. MI5 agents, led by Alan Bates as "Stuart," skillfully manipulate a well-intentioned British family into believing that they are merely police on a routine investigation who need to use their home in the London suburbs "just for the weekend" in order to surveil a suspect who has been tracked into their neighborhood. As it becomes clearer what is really going on and what is at stake, the agents practically take over the house, the British couple are encouraged to lie to their teenage daughter about the unseemly details they have learned, and then the husband must lie to his increasingly distraught wife in order to spare her the trauma of the final ugly truth. Everyone must deceive the family's friendly neighbors by pretending that nothing at all is amiss, for it turns out that they are Soviet spies who have been lying their heads off to maintain their cover. In the end, as British agents close in for the inevitable arrest, Ellen Burstyn, as Barb, is subsumed in guilt, completely torn between her loyalty to her best friend, Helen (Teri Garr), while at the same time feeling totally gullible and cruelly betrayed by her. This is a great TV movie with excellent performances all around, but especially from Alan Bates, Teri Garr, and Ellen Burstyn. In fact, the latter is so convincing in her interpretation that at certain key moments it almost defies description.
The interesting thing, of course, is that this effective movie is based on a true story, as was pointed out in another's comments. "Helen and Peter" seemed so affable and caring but were in fact part of the infamous atomic spy ring that gathered American nuclear secrets after WWII and transmitted them to the Soviets. They escaped the US when the Rosenbergs and others were arrested, only to surface in London some time later under assumed names.
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