|Index||2 reviews in total|
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Not Just Another Film About Espionage., 10 March 2005
Author: rsoonsa (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Mountain Mesa, California
That cinema genre dealing with international espionage is very extensively represented, with the featured characters frequently depicted as cartoonish latter-day supermen, such as Ian Fleming's James Bond, or burnt-out cases as in filmizations of John Le Carré's largely lustreless works. This is the first espionage themed film from director Bryan Forbes, and his final work at the helm, Forbes neatly converting much of the potent content and tone of his own novel, a brilliantly constructed effort that moves into the realm of literature rather than mere entertainment. Albert Finney is cast as Alec Hillsden, a "retired'' MI6 operative called back because of the murder of an erstwhile flame of his, a former agent named Caroline (Kristin Scott Thomas) who had been working within the Crown's Austrian network when she was taken by the Soviets, "debriefed" and, when emptied of intelligence, exchanged for an enemy spy. As Caroline had been reduced to an embodied vegetative condition due to a unique method of torture, her murder upon its surface would seem to be without much point; however, as Alec discovers, betrayal is one of the more prevalent elements found within the endless game that he and his peers are playing. Finney, a superlative actor, gives a remarkable performance as an agent who will take extreme measures to discover a rationale behind his late love's demise, while virtually each member of the cast is impressive in a well-paced film. Production values are quite high with noteworthy camera and lighting composition provided by Brian Tufano, high-grade production design by Maurice Cain, as well as the perfect costuming of Janty Yates; post-production sound editing is telling with a use of silence of equal importance to the Ennio Morricone score, while Forbes and Tufano warrant that editing and montage are appropriate for this crisply rhythmed affair. Forbes' film, as with his novel, offers increasing pleasure with each sampling, each creation pleasingly literate, as exemplified by Hillsden's citation of L.P. Hartley's opening lines from his novel "The Go-Between", an oft-quoted phrase most applicable for this piece as a whole: "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."
Espionage Forbes style, 29 June 2006
Author: sol- from Perth, Australia
During the 1960s, Bryan Forbes directed a small number of black and
white films with excellent visual designs that were perfectly suited to
the screenplays. This film, made towards the end of his film career, is
not quite on the level of some of his earlier efforts, however his
talent for directing is still quite visible in this film, which he
wrote as well as directed, based on his own novel.
One sequence that is particularly well done features Finney meeting up with an old acquaintance on friendly terms, but slowly their conversation starts to turn into an interrogation. As this change progresses, the camera angles also start to tilt to one side. By the end of the scene, the shots are all on angles of at least 30 degrees. But perhaps the most amazing thing is that the characters are still shot so that they appear upwards - it is just the sets that look like they have gone askew, reflecting how their conversation has gone askew.
Another superb sequence features Finney and his wife are having an argument while the television set is turned on. While his wife is heard shouting at him, he is either seen looking at her, or the television set is seen from his point of view. The volume on the television sets seems muted, but then all of a sudden the television volume increases as something of interest to him appears on TV, and yet his wife can still be heard, showing his shift in concentration to the television set, with his wife as a distraction.
In general though, the film is visually and audibly interesting. The scenes in the first half that involve Segal are filmed in a very different manner to everything else, with Segal viewed from high camera angles, and yet he is still able to exert a sense of a menace since we are positioned on a different level to him. The overall camera-work is great: following the characters around and extended tracking shots as characters cross streets. The beginning shots are also very reminiscent of the opening shots in 'The Whisperers' and the kidnapping scene in 'Seance on a Wet Afternoon'.
The film's weakest area is probably the acting. George Segal is fine throughout, however the rest of the performances vary in effectiveness, particularly Albert Finney. Towards the end he is very intense and credible, but towards the beginning he delivers his lines in a fashion so that the words droop off towards the end - the way he says his dialogue is rather flat. Most of the supporting performances are a bit stale too - although maybe Forbes was trying to achieve something here, as the dialogue that the supporting characters speak more often than not sounds rehearsed and unnatural.
Ennio Morricone's music compositions for the film are used to great effect towards the end, particularly mood-setting during certain shots, but in the first half of the film his music more so played at just the usual dramatic points. The frequent use of dissolves is a bit distracting, especially some of the extended ones, but the overall editing design brings an interesting feel because it is so unusual for a espionage movie, in which just straight cuts are often the norm. And overall, 'The Endless Game' is unusual espionage movie, but in the best sense possible. Having written the source material, Forbes knows in every shot the exact sensations that he was trying to achieve in his novel, and the resulting product is as engaging as a good spy novel.
|Ratings||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|