Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
The "Why" Does Tell Us Something!
on 30 June 2007
This well-acted movie held my interest throughout, but it somehow left me dissatisfied. I feel that the writers fudged by not offering any insight on Hannsen's motives for betraying his country. He does not seem to have done so for reasons of ideology. The scriptwriters' thrice-repeated portrayal of the Hannsen character as saying: "The 'why' doesn't tell us anything!" seems to me to be a cop-out for not offering a plausible explanation, even though such an explanation might be merely speculation. Are we really supposed to think that Hannsen spied for the Soviet Union because of a nasty father? Or because Hannsen sent racy tapes of himself and his wife to his best friend? Or, even less plausibly, because Hannsen was, according to the film, a devoted member of Opus Dei? Or because he nobly took only $100,000 for his services (as opposed to the millions taken by Ames)? For that matter, does Hannsen even deserve the title of 'mole,' since that term, as coined by John Le Carré, refers to someone who was recruited by the Soviets (as were the Cambridge Spies, who, incidentally, took no money) to penetrate an agency on a long-term basis, becoming active only at the behest of his handlers? Hannsen was already in place in a position of importance; a mole does not usually volunteer his services for hire!
Be that as it may, I believe that the film, which, it must be reiterated, was well acted and entertaining, would have become far more intriguing and complex had the authors offered some insight into the character of their antagonist, who, in the film, for the most part, seems to have been merely obnoxious.