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Monday, August 10, 2015

REILLY: ACE OF SPIES (1983)

Where has this British mini-series been hiding? A hair-raising tru-life adventure, it’s the reasonably fact-based story of Sidney Reilly: International Spy for King & Country . . . and Himself. Starring a commanding Sam Neill, with a touch of young Sean Connery about him* (something about the mouth, and that slash for a dimple), who carries the ball into 'enemy' camp over the first quarter of the last century, taking down foreign governments & fleets of war ships when he’s not filching top-secret security info or ladies’ hearts. The final two chapters (of twelve) lose a bit of momentum parsing early Soviet Union internecine Bolshevik battles, but the script is, in general, about as clear as these things can be. And without the padding that’s now so common. Bonus points for the host of famous faces floating by in supporting roles large & small (Alfred Molina, Leo McKern, John Castle, David Suchet, Bill Nighy, John Rhys-Davies, many more) and demerits for an unnecessary meta-physical/occult element, that horrid wig on Stalin, and for the Freemantle/Thames’ DVD which needs an upgrade. (But don’t let that stop you.)

READ ALL ABOUT IT/LINK/SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: *Ridley, Shlomo Rosenblum, was supposedly one of the role models for Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Ironic considering Fleming’s anti-Semitism. Here’s a review (lousy with SPOILERS) of a recent bio: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/sep/07/russia.artsandhumanities

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