In London, a counter espionage Agent deals with his own bureaucracy while investigating the kidnapping and brainwashing of British scientists.In London, a counter espionage Agent deals with his own bureaucracy while investigating the kidnapping and brainwashing of British scientists.In London, a counter espionage Agent deals with his own bureaucracy while investigating the kidnapping and brainwashing of British scientists.
Working Class Palmer is an unwilling Home Office agent with criminal tendencies who is more interested in a pay rise so that he can indulge his true passion, gourmet cooking, than serving his country. His superiors, Ross (played by Guy Doleman) & Dalby (Played by Nigel Green) represent a microcosm of the British Upper & Lower Middle Classes. Palmer is clearly more cultured in his appreciation of food, music(Mozart & Bach) & women, "I like Birds Best" Palmer admits to Courtney played by Sue Lloyd (of Crossroads fame in UK).
Palmers superiors appear uninterested in the fate of their subordinates and this is one reason why the character of Palmer works so well, we are him, he lives our lives and we want him to win through. This perspective is aided by the stunning photography that uses every conceivable camera angle (even views from a light bulb!) to see the world from the characters perspective.
Look out for the supermarket scene between Ross and Palmer, my vote for the most violent use of a supermarket Trolley in a movie.
As Palmer slowly unravels the mysterious disappearance of top government scientists it becomes clear that there is someone close to the top of the British Secret service acting as a double agent. Who is it, Ross or Dalby? Who is Courtney, Palmers love interest, working for?
In the background is a rather sinister looking CIA, who always appear to be one step ahead of the Brits. (A reference to the decline of Britian as a world power and its reliance on America?) Wether intentional or not, this film has captured a London of the 60's that was going through substantial social change, gone are the class paradigms that suggest that the working class could never be cultured, gone is is the unquestioning loyalty to the upper class. This world was forever changed after the war. This is a film I can watch time and time again, if only to watch the title sequence as Palmer gets up for work as if he is going to just another office job.
This is a stylish movie and one of the greatest British films ever made. If you havn't seen it watch it now!
- Apr 24, 2000