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The CIA hears of a KGB scheme to assassinate the Soviet General Secretary and enlists Stoner, an agent retired for 10 years, to go to Russia to investigate. He verifies the plot, but then has trouble leaving the country. In the meantime, the U.S. policy makers struggle over whether or not to inform the Soviets of the plot. Stoner's problems are complicated by the renewal of an affair with Anna, a Russian, as he tries to convince her to defect Written by
Herman Seifer <email@example.com>
Like many Cold War thrillers, "Red King, White Knight" has become somewhat dated by the flow of historical events. Still, it remains a taut and enjoyable thriller. The plot centers on an internal KGB plan to assassinate the Soviet General Secretary at the time of the begins of the real reform movement. The film, done for cable by HBO, is well acted throughout, especially by Mirren and von Sydow.
It is by no means a masterpiece - the pacing at times seems to get sluggish, particularly those scenes dealing with the CIA's formulation of the Presidential briefing. Many of the smaller characters are too cardboard and one dimensional. Finally, action fans may find the film a bit too psychological for their tastes. But therein also lies its strengths as each of the main characters wrestles with their own past, ideologies and beliefs while trying to determine how to react to the KGB plot.
All in all, a good view.
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