- "The Spy" is a very effective, captivating film. 4/27/2017 12:00:00 AM by rsh-46811
"The Spy" is a very effective, captivating film. I had never heard the term "Magical Historicism" previously, but it is a good, brief description of the genre of "The Spy".
"The Spy" has something for everyone – included within its reel we have the love story featuring Nadya and Dorin, played out in the wistful and misty set in front of her home and by the lake at the film's end; the comedy with Sr. Major Oktyabrsky as he rescues the blond starlet from her boring younger man comrade and as they seduce each other to the tango across the dance floor; the drama as Dorin is trapped and facing certain death in an underground bunker set ablaze by secret German agent Petrakovich; subsequently vengeance as Petrakovich (now found out) reports to face Sr. Major Oktyabrsky, with Dorin behind her looking on with a vengeful smirk reminiscent of the murderous look worn by Jack Nicholson, as he plays the murdering Jack Torrance in "The Shining"; and the suspense as the telephone rings, rings, rings and rings again as Dorin debates and debates – "Should I answer it?" when he receives the call from Sr. Major Oktyabrsky just before Oktyabrsky is killed in the phone booth.
The smorgasbord of sub-genres contained in the film gives it tremendous movement – in this film the viewer is never bored. Rather, one wants to rewind and replay in a near futile attempt to figure out who is who, and what just happened and what is likely happen next. It's easy enough to follow the main characters. But the question of who is Wasser puzzled me still on the second viewing last night.
In "The Spy" the viewer catches the serious undercurrents of Soviet history and the Barbarossa invasion of June 22, 1941, but without the dry, monotonous, yet agonizing and self-berating nature of a black and white historical documentary on the invasion.
And in "The Spy" above ground we see Stalinist Empire architecture, Soviet realism and Soviet grandeur on full display in massive stone buildings and broad avenues, with polite "nice" people and comrades walking or milling about, while below ground we see the bunkers, sewers, cells and torture chambers. Similarly, the film itself affords us two hours of entertainment including romance, drama and the comic, while also giving us the opportunity to peek beneath the sewer lids if we are brave enough to explore the underbelly of Soviet Russia, the Asian and Stalinism.
"The Spy" is a movie that I want to watch again.