Combining the moral murk of John le Carré with the kinetic rush of the Bourne films, this big-screen spin-off from the long-running BBC television series is a solidly entertaining espionage thriller; not up there in the first rank of spy movies but a decent enough placeholder to keep fans of the genre happy until James Bond’s return in this autumn’s Spectre.
It’s been four years since the end of the TV series, which ran for 10 seasons from 2002 to 2011 and boasted a notoriously high body count among its characters. The most notable survivor here is Peter Firth’s MI5 counter-espionage chief Harry Pearce, but the new film has barely got underway before the escape of Muslim terrorist leader Adam Qasim (Elyes Gabel) from MI5 custody leaves him carrying the can.
As the repercussions of the event reverberate around MI5, disgraced ex-agent Will Holloway (Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington) is forced into playing a treacherously double-edged game to save London from attack.
With Firth and Harington providing brains and brawn respectively, the ensuing adventure delivers hairpin plots twists and bursts of muscular action, making good use along the way of some high-profile London locations (plus an atmospheric stopover in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz) and a classy supporting cast headed by Jennifer Ehle and David Harewood.
Certificate 15. Runtime 104 mins. Director Bharat Nalluri.
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