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1908: Pascali, a spy for the Sultan, sends reports to Istanbul that nobody reads. His suspicions are roused when a British archeologist appears, who may not be quite what he seems.Written by
The writer responsible for the schlock-shocker 'Fatal Attraction' takes an altogether different approach for his own turn as director, in an old-fashioned, anachronistic bit of foreign intrigue set on a small Aegean island during the last desperate days of the Ottoman Empire. Among the film's many virtues is one neglected in recent years: it actually tells a story, with a rich sense of time and place to help bring it vividly to life. Ben Kingsley is superb in the title role, playing a petty informer on an inconsequential outpost in the Sultan's crumbling empire, who becomes caught in the plots of various foreigners seeking adventure and opportunity during the heady, treacherous years just prior to World War One. The expatriates involved in his inevitable downfall (a metaphor, perhaps, for colonial politics at he time) include a beautiful Viennese aristocrat and a roving English archaeologist out to swindle the local Pasha. The story is simple, subdues and potent, with some unusually literate skullduggery making it a modest but memorable drama of trust and betrayal.
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