User Reviews (37)

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  • kaplanhow4 August 2018
    Very rarely are authors satisfied with the film adaptations of their novels. I'm the author of the thriller The Damascus Cover, and Daniel Berk has crafted a fabulous version of my book. I'm particularly thrilled with the acting not only of the superb Jonathan Rhys Meyers, but of the entire supporting cast, particularly Olivia Thirlby whose smile lights up the screen. Thanks to all involved with this. I highly recommend the film.
  • A honest artistic work: well acted, well shot, well edited. And middle east is always an interesting location. The plot is not the most brilliant ever written but I bet that most of us will not foresee the ending.

    I don't understand why exceeding in negative reviews: not every film can be worth an Academy Award. But if you love cinema there is a good chance that you'll enjoy the flick.

    I am old and I've seen much worse...
  • I was able to watch it all the way through without regret, which is more than I can say for most movies these days. Nothing great, but not that bad either. I found the sound track kind of weird, the dialogue was so crisp and clear I almost thought it was looped, but I am not sure. It sounded like the mics were almost in the mouth of the characters as they spoke. Kind of off-putting.
  • I read the book 3 years before seeing Damascus Cover. The film really does the book justice. The story is compelling as an old fashioned spy story without car bombs , gadgets and bombs going off. Damascus Cover reveals raw feelings of a broken man/operative Ari Ben-Sion masquerading as a German rug salesman Hans Hoffman. Reeling from his son's death and the death of an operative coworker he tried to save, he is used in another operation that isn't what it seems. He becomes bait. We have a harrowing ride through Damascus and the surprise twist ending . I want to see this film again and highly raconmend it.
  • I was impressed by this movie. The cinematography was notably good, providing one with a good feel of the atmosphere of the locations in which this film was shot.

    I also enjoyed the political comments that punctuated this movie, without being 'preachy'; something that would certainly turn me off a movie.

    The performances were strong, but at the same time not overly dramatic, which gave the movie the gravitas and tension required for a film in this genre. The storyline keeps you engaged from start to finish, and you leave the theatre suitably entertained - which is what you want.

    Is this film a big budget production like 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'? No. Is it a good independent movie that will entertain you? Yes.
  • I was intrigued by this film, not least because the late great John Hurt was involved and I believe it was sadly his last film. It was not a disappointment and had a retro- feel, in a good way! Being used to seeing so many slick spy thrillers, it was refreshing to see a film that was not obsessed with perfection. There were some interesting twists and turns and action scenes too. The main lead, Jonathan Rhys Meyers was well chosen and watchable. It is definitely worth a viewing and will be appreciated by those who prefer a vintage style spy thriller!
  • bernardoarquivo24 September 2018
    I don't get the low ratings and the hate reviews. It's a good solid spy thriller about intelligence and counterintelligence between the Moussad and the Mukhabarat. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is not exactly Olivier with accents but he's improved over the years and does a pretty good job as an israeli agent. Olivia Thirlby was somewhat plain but also ok. And it's always good to see J├╝rgen Prochnow, even in such a tiny role.

    But the real icing on the cake was the wonderful and so dearly missed John Hurt, in his farewell performance. Brilliant and poignant til the very end.

    Overall, pretty decent entertaiment.
  • This is a quite mediocre spy movie. I used to like this genre a lot and would have the keenest interest to see them through, but this film, well, right after about 15 minutes, I've already got bored, lost my interest and became awfully impatient to watch along. During the fifteen minutes, I've first found out that the casting job was terrible; Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who played the main role as an Israeli spy, was a terrible cast, I couldn't stand his swaggering walking and his faulty ridiculed way of speaking, trying to be a mixture of German and Israeli person. Then again, Olivia Thirlby, who played a USA Today journalist, shooting pictures of those Israeli weirdos around the Weeping Wall without any obvious reason. Then an absolutely weak and unconvincing chaos was so conveniently created and suddenly died down to offer the opportunity for her and JRM's acquaintance. What an awkward and terrible scenario that only a lousy screenplay would have crafted. Then finding and signing up lot of Middle Eastern actors with big hooked noses and demonic vicious faces to play the Syrians simply further turned me off right away.

    It's such an one-dimensional and highly predictable film, extremely mediocre. The only thing that worths your time was to take a look at those exotic scenes of the Middle Eastern city and village views, which by the same token, we've already seen thousand times in other films, including those travel documentary films and magazines. I'd never recommend you to waste your precious time to watch this mediocre film.
  • Seeing 4.5 IMDB rating, I didn't have much hope for this movie when I sat down to watch it. But i should have known better than to trust IMDB ratings. That's not a knock on the website, but more on the crazy ratings some people give movies on here.

    This is a well-made, well-shot, well-acted movie. It isn;t the most original plot ever, but then that is true of most movies and doesn;t automatically make it bad. Indeed, the twist at the end was unexpected, and I'm usually pretty good at working such plot twists out.

    JRM does a good job in the lead role and the rest of the supporting cast are also very good. Any movie that features Igal Naor is a winner, too. He is such a good, engaging character actor and really should get more work in bigger movies.

    So, this is a well-made movie and we should all be supporting indie movie makers these days, with the big studios squashing the little guys. This movie is well worth watching.
  • I love this genre of spy film, and enjoyed it all the more in this film where the performances are so strong. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is brooding and excellent as a German businessman who is really an Israeli spy. John Hurt, (in one of his last roles) as the head of Israeli Intelligence and Navid Negahban as the head of Syrian Intelligence, present carefully crafted characters who personify both the internal struggles and moral compromises of those who seek to do good (Hurt) as well as those who so well capture in both their look and actions the banality of evil (Negahban). The story, about an Israeli spy who has shut down because of personal loss and is caught in a cycle of betrayal as he struggles to succeed on a mission during the early 90's in Damascus, Syria, which appears to be set up to fail, is well crafted and kept me guessing until the end.

    Admittedly, I look out for this kind of film, especially one set in the Middle East which offers such a stark glimpse into a region of the world beset by literally thousands of years of conflict and distrust. But the film, directed with admirable restraint and subtlety by Daniel Zelik Berk, also shows the real beauty and possibility of this region, and Rhys Meyers should receive kudos for his strong but guarded portrait of the lead character, Ari Ben-Sion, whose own pain from the loss of his young son drives him further and further into his cover as a spy, which he comes to realize is no safe or fulfilling life for anyone to have. Excellent cinematography and score.
  • As this fine indie film is just out I'm going to hold back on the spoilers until a later update. This film swept the Boston Film Festival: Best Film, Best Director, (Daniel Zelik Berk), best leads, best cast, etc. AND the Manchester International Film Festival: Best Film, Best Actor, Best Editing, etc. Audiences and judges at both of these events are not your common Mike & Ike munching action/adventure aficionados. The judges don't place high value on the latest CGI produced car crashing through a helicopter scene, but have both an understanding of cinematic pacing and a deep appreciation of plot driven storylines. So for all the bleh reviews that compare this finely crafted espionage thriller to the latest Mission Impossible or DieHard V - Skyscraper, they are totally missing the point, the two are apples and oranges. Damascus Cover is a film that requires attention to detail, a film that requires viewers to actively follow the storyline and actually think about what is happening on screen. The result: during my recent viewing the three of us were whispering our third act predictions during the first act, and then changing our predictions during the second. That's the mark of a great thriller - you join with the film and even start thinking ahead. Think about how Alfred Hitchcock built suspense and thrills in his movies. Now compare that to a movie that relies on an unending series of CGI action shots, like Tom Cruise on a mission, impossibly sprinting and jumping from rooftop to rooftop. People do love action movies, but Damascus Cover succeeds in the classic tradition of American and British espionage thrillers; it hooks you into the story, without the artifice of unbelievable action sequences. Besides some fistfights and some realistically done shooting scenes, there's little "action" in the 2018 sense. But don't worry, you'll be plenty thrilled.

    Set in 1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the film accurately portrays the period, with Israel at great odds with Syria. At the time Syrian backed Hezbollah fighters were finally disengaging from attacking Israel from Lebanon, and Syria was in turn shifting its attention inward. Albeit Casablanca fills in for Damascus, but the feel is right. Other location shots capture the era quite well. Set and location scenes had few anachronisms we could find and shows Director Daniel Berk's fine attention to detail. Also right is casting Sir John Hurt (in his last performance before his recent death) as Miki, a weathered Israeli Mossad clandestine operations director. His performance, as well as Das Boot (1981) German actor Jurgen Prochnow's role as an ex-Nazi hiding in Syria provide two solid anchor points. Lead actors Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Olivia Thirlby create immediate film chemistry that grows as the film proceeds, and becomes more believable straight through to the conclusion. In a spy thriller this connection is hard to achieve, but here it works.

    The film plays 93 minutes, but the editing and scene progression tell a very complete story, with all the character development and depth of plot one would expect from a much larger feature. If you've read my review this far and get what I am saying you're going to love the movie! Next, pay attention from the beginning, don't arrive late, and realize that in order to be thrilled you have get into the story. There are plot twists, plot misdirection and feints, as well as unexpected turns straight from the 1960's spy genre playbook. The storylines do converge during the third act in a very satisfying, almost Paul Haggis-esque fashion. When you walk out, you say to yourself, "I should have seen that ending coming". But you didn't, and now it makes perfect sense - - and that's why this film has won awards and kudos from true movie aficionados. Congrats to Writer/Director Daniel Berk on a real winner!
  • ebabaco29 July 2018
    I believe the director has no idea about damascus You cant make a film about this city in another place specially the whole environment of the movie doesn't look like levant countries

    Also during the movie it show huge photo on a bulding for Assad's family the father and his 2 son While this photo in 1989 doesn't exist cause the sons were very young at that time

    Also when the camera was moving in the streets there were new models car how come ??

    And many many other mistakes Horrible
  • sondraberk10 September 2018
    This is a film that requires attention. Stick with it and it will pay off in the end.
  • asherekaplan4 August 2018
    I really enjoyed this movie, it had all the elements of a great spy movie and strong performances by Hurt, Meyers and Thirlby. Definitely a winner!
  • thekingsdom1 September 2018
    10/10? Lol, give me a break! I've been to Israel twice (I'm Irish, not Jewish). That experience means I like films that deal with the Middle East, and it's politics. I'm not pro-Israeli, but I also understand that the Israeli's need to protect themselves. Anyway, this film is about a Mossad agent going undercover in Syria, and that's interesting to me. It also means I wanted to like this film. The film starts off pretty ok, but then it just descends into total farce. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is usually a good actor, but in this film, he acts terribly. His acting is cheesy, his dialogue is unreal, and his character totally acts like a spy. If I was sitting in a bar in Syria watching him, I'd be like..."Ooh, he looks like an Israeli spy!". This film had the potential to be a really good thriller, but sadly it turned out like a block of Edam cheese. I wouldn't bother.
  • It's not the best film I've ever seen but it is good. I'm not sure why it has such a low rating. The acting is fantastc, the scenery is good. I#m a person who switches films off if they don't interest me in the first or 10 minutes and this one had me.
  • It could have been so good, but trying to make twists in the plot made it extremely dumb.
  • gradyharp4 September 2018
    Spy films work or not - often depending on the main character actor in the story. In the case of the DAMASCUS COVER that role of Mossad spy is assumed by Jonathan Rhys Meyers - in one of his finer roles. The film is based on the novel by Howard Kaplan. adapted for the screen by Daniel Berk and Samantha Morton and directed by Daniel Berk.

    The year is 1989 after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the focus of the film is espionage. A spy with two names - Ari Ben-Sion and Hans Hoffman (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) - navigates the precarious terrain of love with a journalist named Kim (Olivia Thirlby) and survival during an undercover mission in Syria. Ari/Hans interacts with all fronts of the Syrian terrain of rules, regulations, and intrigue looking for The Angel that is the source of the counterterrorism and for the entire film we are not sure who is this creature until the end. The cast includes John Hurt as the important Miki, Navid Negahban, Igal Naor, Hassani Shapi, Wolf Kahler and a large cat of Middle Eastern actors.

    The pacing is slow at times but the cast is strong and together they make this film credible. This is no t a splashy high cost production film, but its smaller scale make it that much more credible.
  • This movie is far better than it's rating suggests. Not a perfect spy thriller but a very good one, in the old school style. Suspense achieved with characters with complex motivations, great acting and story. Some other reviewer said it was a failed Bond movie. It's not in the same class as a bond movie. More like John Le Carre style.
  • itsbobr24 August 2018
    In 1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mossad Agent Ari Ben-Sion (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is sent on a secret mission by his boss Miki (John Hurt) to extract a chemical weapons scientist and his family from Syria; and Ari uses the name Hans Hoffman who sells carpets. Ari needs to prove himself once again as his son's accidental death weighs on his mind and also because his last mission was a bust. But Ari's attention is also distracted because photojournalist Kim (Olivia Thirby) has eyes for him. This is also a love story. (Figures)

    Yes, I was looking at Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a suitable Bond, James Bond character, but not necessarily a replacement. Rhys Meyers was okay, but at one time found himself in an alley and I thought he might prevail against the thugs, but was cold-cocked from behind. Now who did it? No one knows. This scene should never have been in the movie. He wakes up with his expensive Rolex on his wrist, wallet intact, and Kim's watch he had repaired. So what was the purpose of that scene? Huh? This would not have happened to Bond, James Bond. See?

    I think the Ari/Hans character should have been more aware and gave the Syrian intelligence guys some things to think about as Bond, James Bond would have. But that didn't happen. I believe he knew they knew why he was in Syria and knows they need to find out who Angel is so he, Angel, can be stopped because Angel has hindered many Syrian intel ops.

    Yes, he is smitten with Kim and so are we, but twists are in order and although Ari/Hans does meet Angel, and Angel doesn't trust Kim, but also without saying it, Ari/Hans isn't sure about Kim either.

    Oh, if you see cars later than 1989 - and you will - keep in mind, this is only a movie. HA!

    Notbables: Igal Naor as General Fuad, who is close to President Assad; Aki Avni as Shaul who admits to being Angel, but he isn't Angel sorry to tell you that; Navid Negahban as Sarraj , the head of Syrian intelligence; Jurgen Prochnow as Franz Ludin a former Nazi officer, who introduces Hans to the carpet buyer; and John Hurt as Miki, head of Mossad intelligence. (Sad note: this was the last film John Hurt was in before he passed)

    All in all not a bad spy movie and sometimes one would think this was more of a love story rather than a spy movie. ( Ah, I knew it)

    You will see the real Angel at the very end. Yes, I was surprised. too. Sequels? Wouldn't mind. (7/10)

    Violence: Yes. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Humor: No. Language: Yes, but not much Rating: B
  • Bad screen writing bad acting bad movie over all. Yes there are worst movie then this but For some reason I thought it would be a good movie . I'm. It sure but I think the director and producer are Jewish just my guess. It was poorly represented from the people to the cultures and characters. Horrible screen writing. What is wrong with the main character why is playing every movie the same . Basically it was the 2 hours waist of time. Good I didn't pay for it otherwise it would be another regret. You
  • If you enjoy a spy story with twists and turns, one that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then Damascus Cover is for you. This is not the fantasy glamorous spy world of James Bond; the characters, settings, and fight scenes have a gritty, real-world feel, as viewers experience the same uncertainty as to who can be trusted and who might shoot you in the back at any moment as our hero. Jonathan Rhys Myers does a fabulous job of conveying both the world-weariness of this agent and his determination to complete his mission. We couldn't stop watching from the start to the shocking ending. Here's hoping the production/directing team and their star have a sequel planned.
  • In spite of sporting a decent cast Damascus Cover, fails to impress. This is what I would describe as a "template film". It takes a standardised formula that been used many times before and adds in actors, props and sets, along with rather conventional narrative.

    The result is a shallow contrivance that lacks flair, corralling the actors performance's, offering little in the way of character growth and artistic improvisation. This is a genuine shame too, as there is some real talent in this cast, including I believe the final performance by the truly wonderful John Hurt.

    Just as regrettable is this film seems intent on portraying Syria as a haven for human rights abusers, torturers and escaped Nazi's. The latter hob nob with senior Syrian officials, whilst living the high life in Damascus. Whilst indeed there was a senior Nazi residing in Syria, he was not feted by the government but instead died whilst effectively under house arrest.

    Simply put there is not a lot to like here. I watched all of this film but found I was bored a good portion of the time by its overall blandness and lack of objectivity. Suffice to say there are far far better espionage thrillers on offer than this tepid affair. 4/10 from me.
  • Ceredon18 November 2018
    First of all, the voice. For some reason Meyers decided he wanted to try to sound like the dark knight, but ends up sounding like he's got a sore throat throughout the film. He half whispers, half rasps out his lines. Very annoying.

    Next, the plots/writing/storyline. If you told me that this was a high school credit production, I would believe it. The writing was horrible. Pat, stunted, predictable drivel. Conversation was awkward, story was predictable and characters were transparent and shallow.

    Was hoping for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Got punk'd.
  • Nothing wrong with the script, but the performance of John Rhys Meyers was really annoying. He doesn't come across as a tough intelligent agent of the mossad, on the contrary, rather like a silky doll and so also the love scenes were dolled up.
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