A war veteran tries to investigate the murder of his son who was working as a Russian translator for the British intelligence service during the Cold War. He meets a web of deception and par... Read allA war veteran tries to investigate the murder of his son who was working as a Russian translator for the British intelligence service during the Cold War. He meets a web of deception and paranoia that seems to be impenetrable.A war veteran tries to investigate the murder of his son who was working as a Russian translator for the British intelligence service during the Cold War. He meets a web of deception and paranoia that seems to be impenetrable.
However, in the light of recent events, Britain always going along with the USA, the Butler report on Britains reason for war in Iraq and the apparent suicide of UN weapons inspector David Kelly a critic and skeptic of the US and Britains claim of Iraqi WMD programs, as well as recent accusations that Harold Wilsons Govt in the 1970's was to be overthrown in favor of a military government either at the bequest of the US or at least with their blessing;I thought that it might have aroused more interest.
This movie was released in 1986 ironically at the time when the cold war was winding down but the fictional events depicted in this film were surly inspired by the Anthony Blunt scandal, the Jeffrey Prime case at GCHQ ( a British intelligence listening post), as well as the Thatcher government banning trade union activity at GCHQ on the grounds of national security. The film depicts skepticism about Britains so called independent nuclear deterrent which totally relied on US authorization, the inequities in the so called "special relationship" and CIA/MI6 meddling in British politics. Also, bugging, internal spying on British citizens, lack of intelligence service oversight, secrecy and lastly hypocrisy or double standard when dealing with moles and traitors. All in all a Guardian readers 'wet dream'.
The conventional thinking was that all Soviet sympathizers and potential traitors were from the working class. Well the problem was they were not. Many top members of the British establishment working in the civil service and the intelligence services who had access to sensitive information loathed the USA and that the Suez fiasco back in 1956 was a turning point for many of them. Although It has to be said that many British double agents and soviet moles were not just motivated by that but were recruited as far back as the 1930's. Many students from in the "Oxbridge" University systems who were Britains best and brightest destined for great things were motivated by their hatred of the Nazi/fascism passed secrets onto the USSR during WWW II and well into the cold war. Suez may have vindicated their beliefs.
The movie implies that the if you were from the respected establishment or of a certain class of person the 'official secrets act' did not apply to you. You would be spared the indignity of a public trial and the humiliation of exposure, however it was a two edged sword because it cut both ways. It would also cause too many red faces at the top as well as creating difficulties in the 'special relationship'. They would leave you alone to continue with all the perks provided you kept quiet and cooperated with the powers that be. On the other hand lower down the food chain you were not so fortunate. Not only were you likely to be prosecuted through the normal channels but if you were really unlucky you might end up being a victim of a CIA death squad who quietly knock off suspected whistle blowers and possible troublemakers rather than go through a costly and public trial.
As for the film itself there is good cast all round and many of the characters are very believable in their respective roles. Frank Jones (Michael Caine) is not fobbed off by an sweetheart investigation into his sons death which concludes suicide. While conducting his own investigation, he discovers irregularities and soon suspects a cover up, but worse that his own countries security services might be involved in his sons death after all. Jones a lifetime committed patriot and former navy man he is shocked to learn of the lengths that the British establishment go to protect one of their own despite their treachery at the expense of less mortals! I highly recommend this movie, check it out!
- May 3, 2006