13 February 2007 | shadowfakx
Not only one of the best laid out political thrillers of the decade
but a microcosm ---( sp?) tautly directed, acted and beautifully filmed ( from Europe to Pakistan and places in between)--- of the geopolitical ambiguities that will plague this world for decades to come.
Played out exquisitely by the extraordinary Ann Brochet, she reflects with every nuance one face can engender, the uncertainty about her and her overlord's choices about preventing an "islamofascist" terrorist attack in France.
Two points: She is the handler for a man who has no commitment to this endeavor other than to get out of a French prison where he is serving a 12 year term. He has ethnic attributes which make him a plausible mole. For virtually all of the flick she is resolute in her goal to prevent this attack from taking place. However, as she forms a " bond " with her ersatz agent, she does waver ( near end game ) in the tactics her overlords use in handling the operation, and thus, him and herself. The guys in white hats, we realize, have no compunction in engineering " little " betrayals to accomplish their goals---which, after all, are correct and proper. So purely speaking, their white hats aren't as white as idealists ( if there are any of you left out there ).
Second point: the same goes for the "other " side...handlers and agents alike.
These 2 points make for one of the most provocative interplays between good and evil i've seen in quite some time. Make no mistake, there are good and bad guys, here....but not as black and white as some of us might feel comfortable with. So not your typical Clancy plot lines, here.
Finally, re: the other commenter's remarks regarding the final scene with the little boy making his way through the room where the plot is almost finally hatched: it clear and plain how he does it; no mystery there; with all due respect, he or she might have followed that part a little more clearly. I also disagree with her/his perception that Ann Brochet's character went to a home filled with kids and hubby. No indication of that. In fact, to the contrary.
This script could have resembled one of Le Carre novels which never properly received the directorial and acting talent so demonstrative in this flick. Except for the Smiley series that were made years ago, starring the inimitable Alec Guiness as George S.