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Non-Review Review: The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

Spying is a damn dirty business. Don’t let James Bond and his fancy Union Jack parachutes or underwater cars fool you. According to The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, it’s an empty and depressing little existence where the players are all confined to the role of pawns on a chessboard. I can’t help but feel that there’s something symbolic about the scene where Alec Leamas, played by Richard Burton, assaults an elderly shopkeeper, played by Bernard Lee – the actor who was playing Bond’s paymaster, M. Given the character’s growing sense of disillusionment, it can’t help but feel strangely potent to see him lash out a symbol of the other – far more romanticised – series of adventures built around British Intelligence.

"I, I can remember... standing by the wall... and the guns, the guns shot above our heads..."

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Non-Review Review: 1984

1984 is a solid adaptation of a classic novel, featuring a fantastic leading performance from John Hurt as Winston Smith. The movie (released to coincide with the year) suffered a bit at the time (and in retrospect) from not being the best adaptation of Orwell’s ground-breaking novel to make it the big screen in 1984-5 – being somewhat upstaged by Terry Gilliam’s masterpiece Brazil. While obviously not a direct adaptation of the novel (in fact, Gilliam has admitted he hadn’t even read the book at the time of release), the latter film explores the same core themes and ideas. However, virtually any film would pale in comparison when measured against a movie like Brazil (which ranks in my top ten films ever), and 1984 really deserves to be seen on its own merits.

Welcome to an edition of Big Brother where every room is a "Diary Room"...

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