Instead of coming in from the Cold War, British agent Alec Leamas chooses to face another mission.Instead of coming in from the Cold War, British agent Alec Leamas chooses to face another mission.Instead of coming in from the Cold War, British agent Alec Leamas chooses to face another mission.
For those of you who haven't seen this movie and are looking for a review, well .. This is a movie I had to watch twice. The first time I saw it, many years ago; I didn't like it at all. It was on broadcast television and it was live, no tape, no tivo, just straight through. I couldn't make out what the big deal was about this film. I had some difficulty understanding the dialog and I also had some trouble in putting names with faces. I was more than a little bit frustrated with not having enjoyed it when so many others had.
Cut to ten years and one tivo later.
I love this movie.
This is a movie that will stay with you long after the credits have finished. If after one viewing you feel that you didn't like the movie, don't abandon it quite yet. I realize it's not the kind of movie you'll want to watch back to back, especially if you didn't like it the first time, but take some time away from it and then watch it again. I believe after a couple of viewings you'll really start pick up on a lot of nuance around the characters. And you'll start to understand the dialog better; at least this is how it has played out for me.
For those who have seen this movie, and are looking for a review to see what others may have picked up on ..check out the IMDb review from Richard Tunnah or burgbob975. I liked their reviews for this movie the best.
I don't feel I can add too much more to this review that others haven't already written, other than just pointing out the performances from Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Cyril Cusack and Oskar Werner as being absolutely magnificent. I especially liked Oskar Werner.
My Favorite scene from the film happens towards the end when Leamas and Nan Perry are driving to meet up in a rendezvous with a person who is to help them escape the occupied territory. While in the car Leamas spills out to Perry all of his pent up venom for his profession and self-loathing. He describes his profession as people who are just a lot of "drunkards, queers and hen-pecked husbands" who protect the "moronic masses". It's the one scene where you feel a genuine release from the tension that has built up through the movie.
Unlike Alec Leamas, you won't be on the fence for this one. You'll either hate it or you'll love it. After two viewings, I've come back to loving it. 9/10.
- Jan 20, 2005