The Spy Who Came In From the Cold:
Based on the novel by James Le Carre, the film was adapted for the screen in 1065 and starred the legendary Richard Burton in what I suppose would be the titular role. Burton plays Leamus; an agent in charge of coordinating the Berlin operations for a branch of the British Intelligence Service when we first meet him. After a double agent is killed, Leamus is pulled off the mission and we see he’s a world-weary man who has grown weary and morose through a life of espionage. “Control” tasks him with a final mission, setting him up as an agent forced into retirement struggling to find work and taking to drink. Leamus finds work in a library where he meets a young woman who he starts having an affair with, and the plan to lure in enemy agents begins to bear fruit.
I don’t want to spoil anything, because this is a twisted game of espionage with an absolutely amazing performance from Burton. It’s not the typical “spy movie” in that everything is played down, the characters are very dark, and it becomes harder and harder to “root” for the good guys in all of this. Le Carre’s most famous protagonist, George Smiley, makes a number of brief appearances and his role is integral to the over-all plot of the story. This is truly a wonderful film.
It’s extremely dark. It’s ruthless, it’s brutal, it’s vicious, and it’s definitely NOT the feel-good movie of the year. If “James Bond” is at one end of the Spy Movie spectrum, “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” is at the other… a gritty movie about cold war espionage with people who are neither kind nor gentle in the way they do their jobs. The movie delivered a brutal kick to the gut and was, at times, a little hard to watch.
4 out of 5.