It is not often that I feel strongly enough about a movie to write a review. The only reason why I am taking the time to write this one is simple enough: I’ve waisted ninety minutes of my life watching it. Perhaps I’ll save you the bother by keeping it simple:
A cold war spy yarn it may be, but a thriller it is certainly not.
The atmosphere at first reminded me of Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy – curtesy of the wardrobe and props department, but this is where the similarities between le Careé and Legacy came to an end. Even the protagonist’s name seemed like something out of a Dickensian do-over: Thoroughgood. He must be the “goody” then. Thoroughly so.
Such a pity too, because the premise was good: an MI6 trainee is charged with “turning” a former Oxford chum, now a KGB agent under cover as an embassy employee in London, and discovers instead that his own father may have been spying for the Soviets. There was a lot of potential there to go into the psychological innings that such a discovery would’ve prompted, but unfortunately Paula Milner’s adaptation seemed to have other priorities. Speeding through the plot without leaving any space for suspense to build up must’ve been one of them.
I’ve been going on and on about clichés last year and how writers ought to do all they possibly can to avoid them. Well. Film directors may do well to follow the advice too. Comedy Russian accent? Check. Dead prostitute? Check. Blonde love interest? Check. The list goes on, but truthfully, by the time they got around to the 70s fondue set I stopped counting.
Verdict? Don’t watch it. If you’re in the mood for a British spy movie, you’re better off re-watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or alternatively go modern and opt for Spooks. You’re in for a treat there.