Notorious (1946)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

 

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 


PROS –
1) A daughter of a convicted Nazi spy is sent to spy on a group of Nazis in Brazil. Things got complicated when she fell in love with her contact, the US Secret Service agent. (Cary Grant).
2) Claude Rains’ performance as Alexander Sebastian stands out. His climactic slow walk to his fellow German spies where he knew his fate is sealed is one fearful scene.
3) There is a Uranium/Nuclear plot. It’s interesting to note that the movie is released in 1946 when the Nazi plot was quite fresh.

 

 


CONS –
1) The first act is slow and boring. For the first 45 minutes, it appears like a rom-com.

 

 


QUOTE –
Madame Sebastian: What is it? Mr. Devlin?
Alexander Sebastian: No. I am married to an American agent.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

 

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 


PROS –
1) A meta spy-thriller beyond the guessing capacity of viewers. The lead characters of the story are a merely expendable pawns in the great game.
2) MI6 plant their agent Leamas in HVA to implicate a German officer (Mundt). But in reality, Mundt is himself an MI6 informant, and the entire plan was to get rid of another German officer (Fiedler) as he was getting too suspicious of Mundt. Leamas and his lover Nancy were just small cogs in the grand spy machine.
3) Richard Burton’s final angry monologue on espionage to Nancy was just brilliant.
4) Leamas‘ final decision of not jumping the wall to safety signifies his exhaustion from dreadful spy-games.

 

 

CONS –
N/A

 

 

QUOTE –
i)
Alec Leamas: I reserve the right to be ignorant. That’s the Western way of life.

ii)
Alec Leamas: What the hell do you think spies are? Moral philosophers measuring everything they do against the word of God or Karl Marx? They’re not! They’re just a bunch of seedy, squalid bastards like me: little men, drunkards, queers, henpecked husbands, civil servants playing cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten little lives. Do you think they sit like monks in a cell, balancing right against wrong? Yesterday I would have killed Mundt because I thought him evil and an enemy. But not today. Today he is evil and my friend. London needs him. They need him so that the great, moronic masses you admire so much can sleep soundly in their flea-bitten beds again. They need him for the safety of ordinary, crummy people like you and me…

Nan Perry: You killed Fiedler!

Alec Leamas: How big does a cause have to be before you kill your friends? What about your Party? There’s a few million bodies on that path!

The 39 Steps (1935)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

 

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 
PROS –
1) An unwilling man accused of murder, trying to stop foreign spies from taking British military secret. In his run from London to Scotland, he is entangled between assassins, the police, and a woman.
2) It’s a classic prototype Hitchcock plot which can later be seen in many of his future movies including North by Northwest (1959).
3) An extremely influential movie in the spy-movie genre.
4) The astonishing twist of Mr. Memory being the medium of smuggling. The secrets are not being smuggled from a document, letter, a CD, or a flash drive. It’s the brilliant mind of Mr. Memory.

 

 

CONS –
N/A

 

QUOTE –
Heckler in Audience: When did Chelsea win it?
Mr. Memory: 63BC in the presence of Emperor Nero!

Killing Eve (Season 1)

STORY – 0
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 1
CULT – 0

 

VERDICT – 3/5

 
PROS –
1) It’s a one-woman show of Jodie Comer as Villanelle, the multilingual French-loving, cold-blooded psychopath assassin with a strong fashion sense. An evil James Bond.
2) Exceptional soundtrack with songs like Carnival and Mama by Unloved and Contact by Brigitte Bardot.

 

CONS –
1) Sandra Oh’s (as Eve Polastri) expressionless face is one of the biggest let down of the series. In a game of spies, she’s merely a pawn in the grand scheme of things.
2) The series is based on Villanelle novel series. She remains the central character in the entire series. Can’t understand why Eve is made the title character.

 
QUOTE –
Eve: Who do you work for? Why are you killing these people?
Villanelle: Do you not know? Do you know who you work for?
Eve: Yes.
Villanelle: Really?
Eve: Yes.
Villanelle: Really? I think if you went high enough, you’d probably find we work for the same people.

Raazi (2018)

STORY – 0
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

VERDICT – 2/5

 
PROS –
1) Good to see Bollywood making movies about a forgotten era that too based on a fiction novel.
2) Alia Bhatt as Sehmat – running the entire show single-handedly
3) A perfect prequel to The Ghazi Attack (2017)

 

CONS –
1) Run-of-the-mill spy-thriller where the director used all the predictable textbook elements.
2) Forgettable soundtrack.

 
QUOTE –
“watan ke aage kuch nahi … khud bhi nahi”

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

STORY – 0
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

VERDICT – 2/5

 
PROS –
1) A high octane action packed movie from beginning to the end by Christopher McQuarrie.It’s a mediocre story riddled with back to back great action sequences.
2) Wolf Blitzer cold open cameo.
3) Men’s room hand-to-hand combat.
4) The bike chase sequence in Paris.
5) Plot-twist after plot-twists.
6) Great action sequences at the climax.

 

CONS –
1) Couldn’t care less about the cliched spy-story or Ethan Hunt‘s family past.

 

QUOTE –
Solomon Lane: There cannot be peace without first a great suffering. The greater the suffering, the greater the peace.

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 1
CULT – 1

Verdict – 5/5

 
Pros –
1) Another gem from the master of suspense – a gripping cross-continental spy-thriller.
2) “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)”  by Doris Day – not just a good song but an important part of the plot.
3) Cinematography By Technicolor

 

Cons –
N/A

 

Quote –
“Dr. Ben McKenna: Sorry we were gone so long, but we had to pick up Hank!”

Atomic Blonde (2017)

STORY – 0
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 1
CULT – 0

Verdict – 3/5

 

Pros –
1) John Woo redefined stylized action movies 30 years ago. David Leitch is adding a new chapter in this genre. Neon lightings, retro wave music, hand-to-hand combat, single sequence shot are key elements of his direction.
2) End Credits : Under Pressure – Queen ft. David Bowie
3) James McAvoy as Percival – his hungover, show-up-late, don’t-know-which-way-is-up act.

 

Cons –
1) Mediocre cold-war spy-thriller. Style over substance.

 

Quote –
“It’s a double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.”

Our Kind of Traitor (2016)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 0
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

Verdict – 2/5

 

Pros –
1) A John le Carré’s European thriller with Russian Mafia and MI6
2) Stellan Skarsgård as Dima

 

Cons –
1) A mediocre thriller with a predictable ending
2) Ewan McGregor in a shallow role
3) The roles of Mark Gatiss & Damian Lewis could’ve been swapped.

 

Quote –
” A man lauders a million pounds, he’s a crook but a few billion, now you’re talking.”

The Hunt for Red October (1990)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 0
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

VERDICT – 2/5

 

PROS –
1) One of the definitive Sean Connery role.
2) The set-up. Underwater cold-war political thriller

 

 

CONS –
1) Ordinary cheap-ass CGI climax.
2) It’s definitely not a Jack Ryan movie from any angle.
3) Not too much action.

 

 

QUOTE –
Captain Ramius: When he reached the New World, Cortez burned his ships. As a result his men were well motivated.