Monday, February 18, 2013

The Russia House (1990)

Not Quite a James Bond Movie… (Alas,  my VHS copy of Diamonds Are Forever film is toast. I will review it, along with You Only Live Twice, sometime this year)

Synopsis: Imagine From Russia With Love, as envisioned by John LeCarrė: everyone in MI6 and the CIA are scumbags, and James Bond is an old, drunk-and- dishevelled bullshit artist.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer both deliver exceptional performances as two people – he from England, she from Russia – caught up in a world of spies and politics, whose love could prove fatal to them both.”

What Did I Learn?: If you want to interrogate a fellow citizen in a foreign country but you really don’t have any legal grounds to hold him, a well-stocked bar can work wonders.

Really?: 1) Um…isn’t Sean Connery about 30 years older than Michelle Pfeiffer? 2) So…British Intelligence and the CIA aren’t pissed at Barley for handing over their list of questions to the KGB, and he gets to live in Lisbon, scot-free?

Rating: The Russia House is an intelligent and sophisticated spy story featuring fine performances not just from Connery and Pfeiffer, but Roy Scheider and Klaus Maria Brandauer. While the movie is well-written and well-acted, not a lot actually happens for long stretches, and some of the dialogue is a bit off (at one point Scheider says: Some people don't like my metaphors; I don't know why, but... Anyway, everyone in this room is buying the same Picasso. It's very rare... medium rare... well done, what the fuck! The bottom line question is: did Picasso paint it? And you're the man who is selling it to us?”). The Russia House is a bit dull, but worth watching, at least once. 7.5/10 stars.

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