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Based on Yiftach R. Atir's book, The English Teacher, Yuval Adler's "THE OPERATIVE" is a taut psychological thriller about a young Western woman "Diane Kruger" recruited by the Mossad to go undercover in Tehran where she becomes entangled in a complex triangle with her handler "Martin Freeman" and her subject "Cas Anvar".Written by
The people here all have many secrets. There's too many rules in Iran. So... If uh, you want to drink, you keep it a secret. You marry a woman who is a... Yu understand. She, she had sex. You keep it secret. If you go to a party or a cultural thing too controversial, you keep it secret. You don't want to fast on Ramadan? Eat in secret. It's the way of life here. Like a second nature.
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This movies slow pace allows for very real acting opportunities in several dialog driven scenes. This movie could of been a complete disaster, but fortunately, it is really well cast! And this cast really delivers at times, (again) in well developed scenes.
A spy movie? Yes, but not an action movie, and barely a thriller - more of a straight drama with the espionage elements driving the story. The protagonist has an air of mystery throughout the entire film - she's multinational, an individual with an unique nature that allows for immersion in different cultures, naturally. One question this film poses is, 'do these type of people exist irl?' And if they do, are they recruited later in life into intelligence agencies? Makes one wonder.
The locations in this film (perhaps implied locations) are interesting, as are the main characters interactions in different cultures. I really wish more producers would enable writers/directors who bring unique cultural perspectives. This film may have it's issues, but (to my eye) stereotyping ethnicity and culture? Not among them.
Regardless, The Operative is not a great film. While it does build some good scenes, and completes an interesting story, the journey could be seen as technically flawed. Most obvious is pacing. While the entire film is never in a hurry, the tension of some scenes vs the benign nature of others feel disjointed. Scenes tend to feel like individual segments that are pasted together to form the whole - this probably has something to do with inconsistent art design, color choices, location and lighting from scene to scene (but I'd have to watch a second time to really formulate that complete analysis) I would argue the director got somewhat lost in the details, and didn't achieve a smooth storytelling arc.
There will be those very critical of the content and the questions the film asks. I personally don't see this film as having much of an agenda - interesting fiction is often speculative.
Recommended? Yea, I think so. Especially if you are a fan of any performers present, especially the leading lady Diane Kruger. Unfortunately there will be times one asks themselves, "is this even any good?" Because the slow pace allows way too much time to think and judge the film while watching.
5 of 23 people found this review helpful.
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