I mistakenly described this to the LLF as being about ‘sex Nazis’. It’s not. It’s a confused effort mixing together the story of a young German boy conscripted into the army to defend the Fatherland against the Russian hordes at the end of the war, and the story of a Soviet spy infiltrated into Britain in the Swinging Sixties. Of course, it’s the same person – Ed Stoppard as the adult Thomas, Tom Schilling as Thomas the boy – but this is no Europa, Europa, and it’s simply not convincing. It’s two films bolted together.
A shame, because the fall of the Reich is pretty well done, and director Reg Traviss is clearly a history buff who has put a lot of detail into props and wardrobe for this section of the film. The Cold War spy part, though, just rings hollow, It’s staged across a much more confined space than the broader vistas of derelict cities and open countryside packed with marauding Reds and exhausted refugees; it looks and feels like the set of a holodeck episode of Star Trek, or a timetravelling TV drama like Life On Mars.
Top marks for trying, though – and for giving work to Michelle Gayle!