Politics are already strained between English imperialists and the West African government of Kinjanja, when womanizing British diplomat Morgan Leafy (Colin Friels) is caught in bed with ... See full summary »
This is the story of Magnus Pym, from his childhood to the end of his career in middle age. As a young man, there is little doubt that his father Rick was the most influential character in ... See full summary »
Jessie is an ageing career criminal who has been in more jails, fights, schemes, and lineups than just about anyone else. His son Vito, while currently on the straight and narrow, has had a... See full summary »
An eccentric scientist working for a large drug company is working on a research project in the Amazon jungle. He sends for a research assistant and a gas chromatograph because he's close ... See full summary »
Taken from the book by John le Carre, George Smiley rallies to the aid of his former intelligence colleague, Ailsa Brimley, to investigate a mysterious letter from a junion master's wife at... See full summary »
At the offices of a Japanese corporation, during a party, a woman, who's evidently a professional mistress, is found dead, apparently after some rough sex. A police detective, Web Smith is ... See full summary »
Jay Austin is now a civilian police detective. Colonel Caldwell was his commanding officer years before when he left the military police over a disagreement over the handling of a drunk ... See full summary »
Three notebooks supposedly containing Russian military secrets are handed to a British publisher during a Russian book conference. The British secret service are naturally keen to learn if these notebooks are the genuine article. To this end, they enlist the help of the scruffy British publisher Barley Blair, who has plenty of experience with Russia and Russians. Barley, an unconventional character who doesn't respond well to authority, finds himself in a game more complex than he first thought when he digs into the origin of the notebooks. Written by
Murray Chapman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The actual full name of the Barley Blair character (played by Sean Connery) is Bartholomew Scott Blair. See more »
Near the end of the movie, at the American control center, when an assistant hands Ned a cup of coffee, he tips it enough that you can see the cup is empty. See more »
[Russell produces a stack of reports on the analysis of Dante's material]
And is there a conclusion?
Clive, there is a conclusion: drop it down the toilet.
And is that what you think, Russell?
Well, expert opinion has that this notebook was written very quickly... or very slowly. By a man, or a woman. The writer was right-handed, or he was left-handed. What I think? For "experts," there's no toilet deep enough.
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Prompted to write this by seeing this again on video - the third time for me, and it's rare that I want to see anything three times. And I realized that it's fascination still holds....this is one of my top 10, definitely.
The reasons I would rate this a "9", while somebody else would give it a "5.9" are largely personal....i think it always comes down to the personal. Talk all we want, when we watch a movie - as when we eat a meal, or kiss someone - the pleasure center in the brain either lights up or doesn't. For me it's all about the love of a place...for Scott Barley Blair it's early Glastnost Russia, for me it's 90's Germany - Hamburg, Berlin...the strangeness, the trueness of people who surround you in such a place and your love for them because of this. The fact that a film can light up specific sense memories like these means that it is true - at least in that respect. This is a remarkably honest film
terrifically unsensational for a spy film and one of the rare "love
stories" that delivers the satisfactions expected of a "love story" without getting mawkish. Everything rings true here except for the ending (a fabricated "happy ending" which is the only thing that kept me from rating this a 10).
To ask for Manchurian Candidate type excitement from this low key film is wrong. The suspense, which is remarkably sustained (those rich long tracking shots of people walking through public places to uncertain destinations to meet with, or maybe not meet with shadow characters who may be allies or enemies) is the truer suspense of the uncertainty of living in a gray, gray world...where nothing much happens, but peril is part of the fabric of mundane life.
(Those sequences are gorgeous....the colors of autumn in a Leningrad park, the closeups of the stone gargoyles....the moody circular stepping pace of the soundtrack....Branford Marsalis' saxophone.) Someone has said here that it is talky. Yes, it is talky...but the talk is brilliant...it is the perfect reflection of a world where everyone - book publishers and bureaucrats and spies alike speaks in mannered, ritualized streams of code. This is not disinformation - it is perfectly understood by all, a language that has supplanted the language of an earlier age in which sincerity was an option.
Besides that ending, the piece is perfectly faithful to LeCarre's novel. LeCarre's books have had good luck when being translated into movies. Of the eight or so that have been adapted, four have made great films: The Spy Who Came into the Cold, The Russia House, and the two George Smiley BBC miniseries. LeCarre is a great writer and more specifically great at plotting and dialogue, and these films all succeed pretty much by filming what is written unadorned and pouring on the atmosphere. And they are blessed with lead performances by three great actors at the top of the form - Richard Burton, Sean Connery and Alec Guiness (Guiness especially...to watch him for six hours in Smiley's People is one of the great pleasures).
A beautifully efficient and elegant translation by Tom Stoppard of a great novel, wonderfully dignified and touching performances by Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer (never seen her better), a beautiful soundtrack by a second tier composer graced by the presence of a real jazz master, a terrific evocation of a place and time....a very moving film.
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