Mike was looking forward to this movie. To be honest I knew little about it but it looked action filled and hey I’m always up for a Friday night movie and dinner date. I enjoyed this more than I thought. I love the 80’s it was my college and new into the world as an adult years. I was always intrigued by West Berlin back then (and now for that matter). I also love spy stuff. This was a trifecta for me West Berlin spies in the 1980s. WHOOT! It is set in the days leading up to the Wall falling. Now then I was in our first house, Mike was out to sea, and I watched it all happen on the news in the now iconic images. But this tells the stories of the spies who didn’t really notice because they were busy killing to avoid being killed.
The story centers around a blonde M6 agent, Lorraine, and her being sent to West Berlin to pick up another spy’s body and find Satchel the double agent for the Soviets. There’s a list that reveals Satchel and it’s now missing (thus the dead agent) and everyone is expecting it to hit the black market any time. She wants that list to complete her mission.
The West Berlin contact is a Brit who as ‘gone native’ in the post punk rock scene on both sides to the wall. He’s well played by James MacAvoy just growing back his hair from playin Professor X. They even put a line in the script to explain why in the height of the BIG hair 80’s he didn’t have hair. The character reminded me of his role in Filth. Very interesting character that leaves us and Lorraine wondering just whose side is he playing for UK, Soviet, or his own.
Lorraine is based on a bad-ass Blondie. She can do it all that a super male spy can do but while walking backwards in high heels and a leather mini skirt. As a character she’s a puzzle. In one scene a lover tells her that her eyes change when she’s being emotionally honest, she shuts that shit right down. She’s hard to read but obvious she’s good at what she does but deep down it is killing the humanity in her. The whole movie is told in flashbacks as she’s debriefed about events in Berlin by her M6 boss and a CIA representative.
The music is awesome as characters and events get their own 80s song as their theme. For example her lover who is also a spy gets “Hush Hush Voices Carry.” Honestly it’s a soundtrack I just might have to get. The music sets the events well as they flow from uptown clubs to low town dives to street protests in East Germany all led by the 20 somethings of the 80s. The back drop of an isolate city of the West surrounded by the Soviet East ups the tensions as spies of every stripe contend to get the list that would expose so many agents on both side and any double agents like Satchel. The tensions of the spy game build oblivious to the social tension that was building in the East German streets the days before the wall fell. The final show down happens as the wall falls but the spygames continue losers dead, victorious limping away another day ended pretty much upright so it was a good day… now for that pesky list…
It’s an atmospheric piece with traditional spy drama set into it. Some twists are surprises some aren’t if you know the genre. When it comes to plot it’s very traditional spy drama, not the best even, but the setting gives it more of an edge and nostalgia for those where their age then. Over all I’d say a solid B for me but for general audience C+. My son brought up a twist after the movie when I told him we’d seen it. Think of Lorraine as Hanna all grown up and holding down a full time job.