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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thriller that Takes Time to Smell the Roses, 29 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Spies of Warsaw [DVD] (DVD)
SPIES OF WARSAW, (2013) is a 120 minute television mini-series that played BBCAmerica in the United States and is being distributed worldwide by the BBC. The spy thriller stars the young Scottish-born actor David Tennant, who made his name in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire [2005] [DVD], and DR WHO, and is now starring in Broadchurch [DVD] on BBCAmerica. It is based on a novel of the same name by Alan Furst, well-known author of spy thrillers.

Tennant plays Jean-Francois Mercier, an aristocratic military attaché at the French embassy in Warsaw, the capital of Poland. It is 1937, and war is clearly coming to Europe. French, Russian and German intelligence operatives are locked in a life-and-death struggle. Mercier, newly appointed officer at the French embassy, is a decorated hero of the 1914 war. The handsome newcomer is drawn into a world of abduction, betrayal, and intrigue, while, at the same time, he finds himself in a passionate love affair with the beautiful Anna Skarbek, (played by Janet Montgomery, Black Swan) a Parisian woman of Polish heritage, who is a League of Nations lawyer. The French general Beauvilliers, with whom Mercier works, is played by Julian Glover,Wish Me Luck . Lady Angela Hope, an Englishwoman resident in Paris, who seems to be interested in getting to know Mercier better, and also seems to resemble one of the famous English beauties of the period, is played by Fenella Woolgar, Bright Young Things . Doctor Lapp is played by Anton Lesser; Duff Cooper, a well-known figure at the time, is played by Julian Harris.

This is a handsome, well-mounted production, which does itself proud in the areas of appropriate interiors, landscapes, clothes and cars. It is reasonably well-acted, and Tennant brings his characteristic intensity to his part. But the plot is rather routine, no great surprises, and it does move slowly, as does much of the work of Furst, the author of the underlying novel. You could say it stops to smell the roses, as it lingers over lovely Warsaw neighborhoods and estate gardens.

I've never seen much of Warsaw on film: just various Holocaust movies such as Roman Polanski's THE PIANIST, Steven Spielberg's SCHINDLERS LIST, and various documentaries about the Jewish ghetto uprising. None of these films was particularly interested in lingering to show viewers Warsaw's prettier districts. And last year, I took the trip of a lifetime to Middle Europe: I was interested to see that Warsaw looks nothing like the Mittel European capitals I recently saw, Budapest, Vienna, or Prague. Evidently the residents of Warsaw have never had quite as much money as the residents of these more famous cities to invest in their hometown. It's worth a look.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Nov 2013 19:15:22 GMT
Truffaut015 says:
Just a quick note to say that Warsaw was almost completely destroyed in 1944, when Polish resisters rose in rebellion against the occupying Germans, hoping that the approaching Soviet army would come to their rescue. Alas, the Soviets halted outside the city, leaving the Poles to fight the Germans alone for over 60 days. That's why Warsaw, despite meticulous restoration, looks different to other central European capital cities

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Nov 2013 19:21:23 GMT
Thank you for stopping by and clearing up that point,

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 19:12:33 GMT
Timelord-007 says:
David Tennant a great actor, I maybe a little biased as I like him in Doctor Who but he was incredible in Broadchurch.

A very informative review.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 21:25:08 GMT
timelord007, Indeed, he was incredible in Broadchurch. I've just moved, and made it a point to get BBCAmerica again, tho we see some of the best things on PBS,
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