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"There Can be no Change Without sacrifice"
on 31 October 2011
This is a French thriller based on the true story that helped bring an end to the `Cold War' and the dawning of `Perestroika'. It stars Emir Kusturika (Serbian film maker and actor responsible for, amongst others `Black Cat White Cat'Black Cat, White Cat  [DVD] ). He plays Colonel Segei Gregoriev, who in 1981 had become totally disenchanted with the whole Soviet system. He was in a privileged position regarding intelligence, and so decides to change the future by giving vital information to the French.
He chose the French as he speaks the language having spent time there and falling in love with all things French, also the CIA are too closely monitored by the KGB to go unnoticed. As his contact he is sent a lowly cog in the big wheel of espionage, one Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet), who he initially rejects as an amateur, but realising all other contacts are known to Russian intelligence, he carries on and they soon form a bond.
The French then start sharing intel with the Americans and things start to move forward although with a fair amount of mistrust between Mitterrand and Reagan (Fred Ward). Reagan has David Soul as one of his aides and Willem Dafoe also plays a small part as a top CIA bad guy. That said there is not a single poor performance here everyone does a fantastic job. The camera shots are great and the attention to period detail is brilliant too especially all the old Russian cars. Froment is told early on that the KGB have everything bugged including all the bedrooms, and if you are not `getting some' then they will know and send someone after you - the moral is `if you want peace, then screw your wife'.
Director Christian Carion has elicited almost perfect performances and managed to weave a story that is both complicated and simple in its' execution. It is not a short film at 109 minutes, but it just shot by. This is a thriller there is some mild violence and some love interest but by no means is it an actioner. This should have received far more attention and I can not recommend it highly enough, it is nice to see Kusturica in front of the camera again too, but hope he gets behind one soon also. Just a quick mention, there are no extras on this DVD at all, but the film is so darn good you will not feel out of pocket.