When a movie is made about a real life person, it should try to get the story accurate. It seems some criticize this movie because it doesn't pack the action of a James Bond movie. Well, then go watch a James Bond movie! The Bond series was authored by someone who worked in British intelligence (Ian Fleming) and the details of his actual career read much like that of Moe Berg.
Real spying isn't action packed. It's not supposed to be. A good spy is supposed to blend in so as not to attract attention. I liked this story because it portrayed the action in that way, in the periphery, as part of the plan but not the core part of it.
Period newspaper articles in the United States, and Moe Berg's biography openly say that Berg's all important mission in Switzerland was to ascertain the probability of Heisenberg's ability to create a Nazi atomic bomb, and if he determined there was a chance, to kill him.
It would be illogical to put an OSS spy in vicinity of someone like Heisenberg without a plan to assassinate him. The only reason not to is the effect on the scientific community should history record that the United States assassinated Heisenberg despite reasonable knowledge he wasn't able to build the bomb.
The decision point that Moe Berg faced was one of the most interesting of the entire war. Perhaps the strongest reason against assassination is that Heisenberg was one of several leading Nazi scientists working on the atomic bomb. Killing him likely would have had no more impact than leaving him alive would have.
Ultimately, post-war analysis of the Nazi's work, by those who led the Manhattan Project, proved that the Nazi program never had a chance of success. This because they never advanced past the theoretical, and even much of their theory was proven wrong by the actual research and development of the American project. So, Berg made the right choice.
Regardless of that, the Presidential Medal of Freedom was not lightly awarded, not even to OSS spies who operated in neutral territory nor behind the lines. This is another indication that Berg's mission was presented reasonably accurately in this movie, as it shows the extreme risks he took, even as he sought to stay behind the scenes. It took another Nazi spy to recognize Berg's mission.
In terms of movies that showed the efforts of OSS espionage, this movie might be among the most accurate. If you want the big explosions and body count, again, go watch a Bond movie and enjoy the entertainment. If you want to know what true spy craft looks like, then this movie provides a very good insight.
It's mainly brains, the ability to think on one's feet, sum up a complex situation quickly, be physically fit enough to meet the demands, and be willing to employ the violence when the mission calls for it, but in a way that the public does not see -- exactly as this movie shows in telling the story of a true American hero.
Moe Berg perfectly fit all the OSS requirements and this movie showed why.
37 of 46 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this