fri 19/07/2024

spies

1984, Hackney Town Hall review - Room 101 shapeshifts into 2023, but remains as terrifyingly plausible as ever

The day after I saw the show, as went about the mundanities of domestic life, I wondered how long it would take to come across a reference to 1984. My best bet was listening to an LBC phone-in concerning next week’s conference at Bletchley Park on...

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Powell and Pressburger: Spy masters

Alfred Hitchcock and Michael Powell are, almost certainly, Britain’s greatest directors. Hitchcock was slightly older, and entered the film business earlier; in fact, Powell worked as a stills photographer on Hitchcock’s Champagne and...

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The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from the Life of John le Carré, Apple TV+ review - outstanding, intriguing portrait of David Cornwell

When the Oscar-winning documentary-maker Errol Morris sat David Cornwell down before his Interrotron camera in 2019, the first salvo of the chat came, not from the interviewer, but from his subject: “Who are you?” By which Cornwell meant, who...

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Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, Season 4, Prime Video review - final outing for John Krasinski's CIA hero

This fourth season of Prime’s reworking of Tom Clancy’s fictional CIA man is supposedly the last (to avoid any confusion they’ve dubbed it The Final Mission). It maintains its tradition of deluxe production values, globe-hopping locations and the...

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Citadel, Prime Video review - did Amazon really pay $300m for this?

The Russo brothers, makers of Amazon Prime’s much-hyped, $300m new spy drama, decided to keep the concept simple – it’s Good versus Evil. In the Good corner we have Citadel, a super-secret global spy network which has the modest ambition of keeping...

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Liaison, Apple TV+ review - tangly Franglais thriller presses some hot buttons

Vive l’entente cordiale! “Despite Brexit” (as the BBC likes to say), Apple TV+ has successfully bridged the Channel to create this lurid Anglo-French thriller, in which Euro-skulduggery rubs shoulders with bribery, corruption and high treason.At...

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Slow Horses, Series 2, Apple TV+ review - Mick Herron’s spies make a welcome return

Apple TV+ is using the arrival of season two of Slow Horses to offer a generous three-month free trial to its streamer service. Ample time to catch up with season one and watch it multiple times before all of season two is available at the end...

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The Capture, Series 2 finale, BBC One review - gripping ride to a barnstorming conclusion

[Here be spoilers.] If you have been glued to the second season of The Capture, just ended, does it bother you that its content is borderline science fiction? Probably not. Writer Ben Chanan’s depiction of artificial intelligence may outstrip...

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The Capture, Series 2, BBC One review - caught up in the China syndrome

When the first series of The Capture arrived three years ago, theartsdesk liked it so much that we reviewed it three times. Writer-director Ben Chanan had successfully, and addictively, tapped into a secret dystopia of blanket digital surveillance...

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The Ipcress File, ITV review – adaptation of Len Deighton thriller fires on all cylinders

Sidney J Furie’s 1965 film The Ipcress File is a much-loved benchmark of its period. Stylish, sinister, witty and depicting a determinedly un-swinging London, it was conceived as the flipside to the absurdly glamorous James Bond movies and pulled it...

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Killing Eve, Series 4, BBC One review - has Villanelle found God?

“I’ve killed so many people. I don’t want to do it any more, any of it.” So said Villanelle (Jodie Comer) to Eve (Sandra Oh) in the last episode of the third series of Killing Eve, soon after she’d pushed Rhian Bevan, an assassin hired by the Twelve...

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Blu-ray: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Martin Ritt’s 1965 classy screen adaptation of John Le Carré’s bestseller The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is an antidote to the full-colour hi-jinx of the Bond franchise that ruled over the spy movie genre in the 1960s. By the time Paul Dehn, an...

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