tue 25/04/2017

spies

Homeland review - 'worryingly prescient'

It was a long time coming, but Homeland’s sixth series at last awoke from its early-season slumbers to put on a late surge over the closing episodes. For a while, it had seemed that the story was barely advancing at all, as the screen was self-...

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Homeland, Series 6, Channel 4

The big surprise of this new-season opener of Homeland was that black ops specialist Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) didn't die at the end of series 5 after all, despite the fact that we last saw him apparently moribund in his hospital bed, having...

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Snowden

As an old Sixties lefty brought up on paranoia-infused thrillers like The Parallax View or All the President's Men, Oliver Stone loves ripping open great American conspiracies. However, in contrast to his earlier labyrinthine epics Nixon and JFK,...

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LFF 2016: Snowden / The Birth of a Nation / Arrival

As an old Sixties lefty brought up on thrillers like The Parallax View, Oliver Stone loves ripping open great American political conspiracies, and inevitably he portrays CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden as a noble crusader for free speech and...

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Swallows and Amazons

If one was going to write the recipe for a classic British children’s film, it would probably include the following: adapt much-loved novel; hire fresh-faced young actors and well-worn comedians; budget for steam trains chugging over viaducts;...

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The Secret Agent, BBC One

Based on an abortive real-life attempt to blow up the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in 1894, Joseph Conrad's novel The Secret Agent has sometimes been held up as a harbinger of the kind of terrorist attacks the world has been subjected to by the...

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Our Kind of Traitor

John Le Carré made it quite clear what he thinks of the new world order in The Night Manager. All together now: a nexus of corrupt money and sinister establishment interests make for cynical realpolitik. It’s a persuasive weltanschauung that plays...

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Bastille Day

This Paris-set thriller was one of several films which had its release date postponed in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the French capital last November, giving the impression that it might be shockingly violent or provocatively political. In...

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Criminal

Spying is not what it used to be. Old-schoolers beat the baddie, beat the house at roulette and then beat someone to death without even creasing their shirt. Today’s spy seems ill-equipped. Take Ryan Reynolds’s Bill Pope. We know he’s in the CIA...

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Deutschland 83, Series Finale, Channel 4

Martin Rauch-stroke-Moritz Stamm, the reluctant spy who by the end of the final, double episode of this eight-parter had achieved more than most in that profession, managed the ultimate last night: he came in from the cold. In a series whose refrain...

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Hapgood, Hampstead Theatre

A supposed Stoppardian footnote gets a first-class reclamation in Howard Davies's sizzling revival of Hapgood, the espionage-themed drama from 1988 that resonates intellectually and emotionally to a degree it didn't begin to achieve at a West...

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London Spy, Series Finale, BBC Two

Well, they're saying this was the final episode, but these days you never know how long TV's ratings-hungry marketeers might eke a successful show out for. London Spy 2 would be a major ask, considering how this series somehow spun a bare minimum of...

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