5 December 2004 | bbagnall
Obscure classic from the eighties
I was too young in 1985 to appreciate a movie like this, but I watched it recently and thought it was quite an achievement. Everything about it hit the mark, without anything cheap or exploitive. The Snowman was a hilarious character for all his contradictions and brassiness.
The movie nicely recalls the cold war, when the Soviets were busy beavers trying to infiltrate governments and media institutions. The Falcon is shocked to learn the United States is using the CIA to block the Communist threat, and decides to become a traitor to his own country.
In too many films today, the writer loves one side and hates the other, so you get a dishonest film. In this film, the writer doesn't portray any of the characters as anything other than humans with their own beliefs, goals and foibles. That I find truly refreshing.
The movie is mostly accurate, from what I have read of the real event. There are a few notable exceptions where truth diverges from the movie, however. After quitting TRW, Christopher Boyce (AKA the Falcon) planned to learn Russian and earning a political major, and then returning to espionage for the Russians (the movie says the opposite). It makes you wonder how far he would have gotten, and how many other Christopher Boyce's there were during the cold war. In real life, Boyce and his lawyer tried to blame *everything* on the Andrew Lee (the Snowman), even saying Lee forced him into it. The Falcon escaped prison for an 18 month period before being recaptured. He was released from prison in 2003. Andrew Lee was paroled in 1998.