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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 <email@example.com>
As a great admirer of John Le Carre, I watched this film with high expectations & although the story wasn't the usual Le Carre (such as 'The Spy Who Came In From The Cold'), I enjoyed it immensely. It is a combination of a good old-fashioned romance & a look at what happens when an ordinary man is brought into the world of espionage. Connery is very good as the boozy, world-weary publisher who considers personal relationships more important than Cold War one-upmanship. Michelle Pfeiffer, apart from being very pleasing to the eye as usual, was also pretty believable as the Russian trying to do the right thing. What's more, Klaus Maria Brandauer deserves an honourable mention as well. OK, the plot is complicated & sometimes hard to follow, as are most of Le Carre's works (& also, doubtless, the real world of espionage), but it is worth the effort. If you are seeking a simple good guy beats bad guy film, then don't watch this or any other realistic spy film. If, however, you want a story that manages to combine cynicism & romance, I recommend this one.
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