Set during the death throes of the Ottoman Empire on an island uneasily divided between Greeks and Turks, Barry Unsworth's tragic tale of deceit makes an ambitious subject for Dearden's debut. Pascali (Kingsley) is a Turkish spy increasingly troubled that his reports are unread. Into this stalled society of spies and lies comes a new development when Bowles (Dance), a bogus English archaeologist, unearths an ancient bronze statue, risks all to bear it off, and places Pascali in a position where he has to initiate action. Fez, Levantine shiftiness and all, Kingsley strips away the facile associations with Lorre, Ustinov, Greenstreet & Co, and justifies a tragic destiny for his character. The milieu may seem remote but the performances illuminate, and the story has an originality that compensates for the modest budget.
Cast and crew
Ben Kingsley Charles Dance Helen Mirren Stefan Gryff George Murcell Nadim Sawalha TP McKenna