I wonder if Sam Reid will ever grow up to play himself? He’s been a young Peter Firth in Spooks, a young Stellan Skarsgård in The Railway Man, and here he’s a young Charles Dance.
But this cold war/thaw film, which jumps around quite a bit in the first third between the early 1960s and the 1990s, actually revolves around Rebecca Ferguson in a dual performance, with one foot in each time frame.
In the 1960s scenes she has a look of Ingrid Bergman, and carries herself in a reserved and understated manner as she steals state secrets from the government. She was less successful in the 1990s scenes, where she plays an artist in search of information about her aunt, and I put this down to her struggling with accents, and a slightly annoying character. The American characters have American accents, and Ferguson’s slipped quite a bit – but then, she is Swedish; the Russians mostly have plummy English accents which which she was fine.
The stand-out performance was Anthony Head – his vodka-soaked Mikhail oozes self-loathing and demands our sympathy.
And for anyone on the #52filmsbywomen trail, this is directed by Shamim Sarif, so add it to the list.