Rating: R, Time: 2hr xx min, Director: David Leitch, Cast on IMDb
Why did you want to see the film?
First of all the previews are pretty bad ass with Charlize Theron as Lorraine kicking ass in the stairwell., which is almost some of the most iconic scenes. I think you get the impression that it will be kind of Mission Impossible with a feminine heroine. The second part I love is a bad ass female playing a spy role in 1989, I mean I fucking lived in Poland during the fall of the Berlin Wall. For me, all the scenery was very deja vu to Communist Poland before the fall. I even got to see Berlin before it was united as a divided city. The third big thing is a killer sound track of the 1980s and endless smoking, which is very 80s and I smoked a lot during those years, right up my alley of youth.
How did you find Lorraine's contact in Berlin David Percival?
His character really has a great flavor of a MI6 agent that's been way too long posted in Berlin working both sides of the border, which would have been the top spy place in the world as many close calls to WWIII happened just around Berlin and the borders of East Germany. In fact, my dad was posted on the border during one of the drills at full readiness during the 1960s Cold War and almost was engaged with the East Germans and Soviets. Keep in mind that at this time the Americans kept mobile nuclear rocket launchers in West Germany, so the threat was constant and overwhelming psychologically. David played by James Mcavoy really captures that daily nuclear threat wearing you down to do dubious acts to save country.
How well does the plot evolve?
The story line is beautiful classic spy story where you don't know who to trust or even who has true allegience to whom. All the agents seem to be the notorious possible double agent Satchel, that Lorraine has been sent to investigate. Additionally, her ex boyfriend agent gets killed right at the start, so you know she has really strong motive to knock heads, kick ass and keep it coming. The plot doesn't deny this.
Another particular interesting part is that Lorraine runs into a French agent Delphine Lasalle played by Sofia Boutella. What is very interesting here that is usually missing in say a James Bond or Mission Impossible is you can visibly see that some agents are very seasoned like David while others like Delphine are practically brand new to espionage. This is very well crafted from a character standpoint as different characters have strengths and weaknesses just based on how long they've been in field.
Another fabulous part of the movie is a serious of double crosses that play out through out the film. This is just cleverly written and play out accordingly. As the viewer, you really don't know how the whole thing will turn out. I mean you suspect the main heroine Lorraine will come out on top, but no more than that. You really are guessing to the identity of Satchel and the motives of all the various spies and spy bosses in the story.
What did you think of the music?
One of my favorites they played from the film was 99 Luftballons, which is in German, but somehow made it to the US charts. The crazy part is I first sung this song not knowing what the hell they were saying and then later when I lived in Germany post-Berlin Wall and learned German. Now I can understand the craze behind the music. Basically, 99 balloons are released over Berlin that drift over to the Soviet sector. Pilots scramble jets and decide to shoot the balloons in jest, which then triggers a 99 year war. I think the only recent song to break past language barriers into the US was Psy with Gangnam Style seen below. Funny how cities close to nuclear war threat make great music that vibrates worldwide.
Were there any changes you would make to the film?
It's nearly flawless with the great music from the time, costumes, radios, East German cars, Porsche, Walkmans, etc. The one thing they did screw up was the use of Humvees in the background. They didn't start production until 1992 or about 3 years before this story takes place. Not that it totally matters for millenials, but it did bother the eye a bit. The only thing I do like about this mistake is that it hints of the coming war in the Middle East as terrorism becomes more of a thing after the collapse of most of the Soviet system of control in the 1990s.
Have you thought of doing some type of Cold War art?
About spies I haven't thought about it as I usually like to portray historical figures and most spies won't be known until 50 years later. It's pretty along the story, but not that long. I did do a quintessential piece on the nuclear arms race that was the backbone of the Cold War and things like Checkpoint Charlie. It was Tsar Bomba released by the USSR with a blast of 50 megatons or twice the largest US bomb at the time. After this bomb dropped both sides moved on to developing ICBMs. Scarily enough now we have North Korea building ICBMs to reach the US. Probably the likeliest target would be San Francisco about seven miles from my house. I would be annihilated even with a small nuke being that close. Thanks Obama! Just kidding its a long problem stewing since the last Cold War when USSR installed Kim il-Sung and started the Korea War (even though they sell their people that the US started the war). Of course with so many wars the US has been in, maybe they are right.
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