A Week In Film #156: Shhh

Spy Sorge
Japanese New Wave dude Masahiro Shinoda takes on the fascinating story of Richard Sorge, a German communist who spied for the Soviets in Japan during the Second World War.

For the most part a conventionally pieced together film, Shinoda relies more on the story itself than any flashy tricks (though there is a slight fracture in the linear narrative to really reel us in at the start). Iain Glen seems to nail Sorge, a man whose nerves must have been frayed after years of pretending to be a Nazi as part of his cover.

For Queen & Country
Early lead role for Denzel Washington as a Falklands veteran adrift in Thatcher’s Britain, who discovers that despite having fought and nearly died for his country, because he was born in the West Indies, he is treated as a foreigner in his own land.

It’s something of a melodrama, but first-time director Martin Stellman (who penned Defence Of The Realm) marshals things competently, and there are some strong performances from Dorian Healy, as a wounded, probably PTSD-stricken former comrade-in-arms, and Amanda Redman as the woman he comes to trust. Bruce Payne as a drug-dealing old friend is perhaps a little over the top, but solid background work from the likes of Frank Harper and Ken Stott help keep it anchored (for the most part). Basically rather depressing.

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