The Russia House

Tagline : Their love was as dangerous as the secrets they kept.

Runtime : 118 mins

Genre : Drama Thriller Romance

Vote Rating : 6.1/10

Budget : 21.8 million $ USD

Revenue : 23 million $ USD

Plot : Barley Scott Blair, a Lisbon-based editor of Russian literature who unexpectedly begins working for British intelligence, is commissioned to investigate the purposes of Dante, a dissident scientist trapped in the decaying Soviet Union that is crumbling under the new open-minded policies.

Cast Members


_**Artistic production with Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer, but uninteresting spy story**_ A few years before the fall of the Soviet Union, a boozy English publisher named Barley (Sean Connery) is sent a mysterious manuscript via a beautiful Russian editor named Katya (Michelle Pfeiffer), but it’s intercepted by British intelligence and Barley is coerced into going to Moscow & Leningrad to meet with Katya and the writer of the documents (Klaus Maria Brandauer), which contain technical data that calls into question the quality of the Soviet defense weaponry. Meanwhile both British and American agents (Roy Scheider, James Fox, et al.) surveil Barley’s activities. Based on John le Carre's novel, "The Russia House" (1990) is a spy drama/romance and NOT an action thriller in the mold of James Bond. Its considerable attributes include spectacular (and rare) on-location work in Russia (shot just a couple years before the fall of the USSR), Jerry Goldsmith's sumptuous jazzy score with Branford Marsalis playing soprano sax and, of course, the notable cast. The film is aesthetically pleasing and the love story is effective, especially its culmination, but the spy yarn didn’t interest me. This may because I didn’t utilize the subtitles and therefore missed a lot of the highly accented verbiage, which is a mistake when a movie is dialogue-driven, like this one. The depiction of intelligence work is presumably realistic (as opposed to 007), but static, boring, cynical and with little human decency. Next time I watch it I’ll be sure to use the subtitles. The film runs 2 hour, 3 minutes, and was shot in Moscow & Leningrad and points nearby; as well as Lisbon, Portugal (Barley’s flat); Bowen Island, British Columbia (American Intelligence 'safe house'); and London (book fair & jazz concert), as well as nearby Pinewood Studios. GRADE: C+/B-

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