John Le Carré's far-from-best novel gets the big-bucks treatment: Connery and Pfeiffer in unlikely amorous conjunction; script by the much-employed Tom Stoppard; a strong supporting cast; and ravishing location work in Moscow and Leningrad. Pfeiffer can act, but her assumption of a role for which her pouty glamour is inappropriate - a Russian office-worker seen rubbing shoulders in the bus queues - is a jarring note in a film which brings from Connery, as bluff, incorrigible, jazz-loving publisher Barley Blair, his finest performance in ages. And almost as an antidote to Pfeiffer's restrained Hollywoodness, there is Brandauer, oozing rugged charm and earnestness as the dissident scientist who sets this spy-versus-spy thriller moving. Overtaken by East-West events, and with an over-optimistic ending which sets personal against political loyalty, it's still highly enjoyable, wittily written, and beautiful to behold in places, at others somehow too glossy for its own good.
Cast and crew
Klaus Maria Brandauer