The Russia House (dir. Fred Schepisi) 1990

russiahouse_3

This is a John Le Carre novel given the Hollywood treatment. The story is as complex as you would expect from a Le Carre story, you will need your full faculties about you to decipher who is lying to whom, and the twists will keep you interested right until the end. Even the ending was unexpected given the author’s earlier stories but it is often nice to be surprised.

It was released in 1990 and is packed with big names of the time. It has Sean Connery, Michelle Pfeiffer, Roy Scheider, James Fox – it even has Ken Russell, as eccentric an actor as he was a director. Sean Connery plays a jazz loving, book publisher and is as good as I have ever seen him. Michelle Pfeiffer and Roy Scheider are excellent too, in quite complex roles.  I really enjoyed the soundtrack too, an interesting mixture of jazz and Russian influenced themes.

For me though, the real star of the movie was Russia. It was one of the earliest movies to be allowed to shoot on location in the Soviet Union. Moscow and Leningrad (St Petersburg now) look austere, monumental and beautiful.

The settings here capture a time and place perfectly; adding an extra dimension to an already vey good film.

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