Ronald Reagan once said that Operation Farewell was one of the most important spy missions in history. Watching this movie, based on that mission, makes Reagan’s statement all the more convincing.
L’Affaire Farewell is the astounding true story of two men who almost single-handedly brought about the downfall of the Soviet Bloc in the 1980s. Directed by Christian Carion, the film sets its paranoiad tone early on, when French engineer Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet) meets Soviet informant Sergei Grigoriev (Emir Kusturica) inside his parked car. Their first meeting is a cinematic showcase, a high-strung and conspiratorial scene which set the tone for the rest of the film. The scene also gives the audience a taste of just how high the stakes are; Grigoriev is a KGB agent who is ready to leak the names of Soviet spies in the United States.
Grigoriev’s defection is motivated by his disillusion with the Soviet system, and a desire to give his son a better future.
Kusturica, a Serbian born filmmaker turned actor, brings his all to a role which demands attention to detail and high emotion. Canet, a popular French actor, uses a paranoiac approach to his role.
Carion gives us an elegant spy thriller, with a rich plot and smart action, that leaves the audience suspicious until the very last frame.
However, the last third of the movie lacks the power of the first 90 minutes &- a flood of emotional depth and tense action – but this is a minor complaint about this masterful film.
L’Affaire Farewell screens at Cinema ImpÃ©rial on Wednesday Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. and Friday Nov. 13 at 10:30 a.m.