Christian Carion (Joyeux Noel) fashions an engrossing espionage drama from a forgotten but crucial episode of the Cold War: the 1983 spy case in which a Soviet intelligence officer leaked to the French government classified information on KGB activities in the West, ultimately emboldening President Reagan to propose his "Star Wars" missile defense shield. In human terms, Carion focuses on the uneasy friendship between the Russian agent (Emir Kusturica, the Serbian director of Underground) and a French businessman in Moscow who became his courier (Guillaume Canet, the French director of Tell No One), and on the damage their subterfuge inflicted on their respective families. Punctuating this story line are clunky, unconvincing scenes involving Reagan (gamely played by Fred Ward) and French president Francois Mitterand (Philippe Magnan). Carion might have found a more artful way to dramatize the case's geopolitical impact, but this is still pretty interesting stuff. With Willem Dafoe as a callous CIA officer and—yes, that's him—David Soul of Starsky and Hutch as a White House adviser. In English and subtitled Russian and French (112 min.).
Director: Christian Carion
Writer: Eric Raynaud, Sergey Kostine and Christian Carion
Producer: Christophe Rossignon
Cast: Guillaume Canet, Emir Kusturica, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Dina Korzun, David Soul, Fred Ward and Willem Dafoe