You made my country a prison…
You may notice that I always start these reviews with a quote from the film in question. Usually something that stands out to me at the time. Watching this film shortly after learning of my countries decision to leave the EU, this line in particular stood out. The idea of a country being stolen from underneath you and being powerless to inflict change without going underground.
It's a sad result and one that confuses me greatly. What we've voted for just makes our world smaller and more claustrophobic. I totally get why people would want to simplify things and try and bring back a little control in to their lives, but what control people think they'll get from this leaves me baffled. You have to be the master of your own destiny and no politician is going to hand that to you on a plate, I can assure you!
As for the politicians, well they've definitely taken a leaf out of Hitchcock's book and are doing what the audience least expect… The victors, stepped down, quit, given up, run away from the doomsday button they sought out. Leadership competitions have been changed in the blink of an eye. One pro remain politician is favourite to win whilst another is being betrayed by his whole party. You couldn't make this up! But you could observe it and turn it into a film or an 8 season Emmy nominated box set perhaps!
And one day, I am sure someone will.
The synopsis on the back of the DVD case made Topaz sound like it was going to be some James Bond type movie with the main character, Mike Nordstrom (John Forsythe), flying all over the world to find himself in all manner of tight spots. But that wasn't the case…
What was the case is something that seemed very familiar to a box set I do like… Homeland. Mike seemed to be more of a handler then an action seeking 007 character (which is probably a more accurate depiction of what most Spy's do for a day job). His job often consisted of utilising his network of contacts to secure information for him, putting them in harms way, performing tasks that either he would look out of place trying to achieve or would be too high a priority target if he himself was caught. It was very interesting from that perspective. The stuff of moral ambiguity… the backbone of what we seem to crave in a character these days!
The dynamic with his trusted French counterpart, André Devereaux (Frederick Stafford) worked nicely too, especially with the uncertainty of the French secret services allegiance to America. These two characters had a certain respect for each other but still knew how much to tell and when not to tell something and both knew when to stop probing.
I also really liked the Cuban section of the film, probably the most Bond-esque of all the sequences, with it's hidden cameras and airport security deception tactics. But again, it wasn't Nordstrom doing any of the hard work. He just had to show up and act as a mule for the developed picture film. The hard work and risks (and unfortunate penalties!) are all taken by the locals who defy the Russian and Cuban alliance. Good, hard-working, honest people! 😉