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The Human Factor

The Human Factor(1980)

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  • the human factor

    • kevin sellers
    • 12/6/14

    I wanted to like this film 'cause I'm a big Preminger fan and this was his last work (from Graham Greene's last good novel) but, sadly, it's just your standard British espionage movie. I've seen the character of Castle, the weary, cynical spy who tries to lead a decent private life to make up for his being involved in a world of treachery, so often (Leamus in Spy Who Came In From The Cold, Smiley in Tinker Tailor, Harry Palmer in Ipcress File) that for him to make an impression at this point he's got to have some amusing or interesting quirks, and as acted by Nicol Williamson quirky is about the last thing you'd associate with this sober, staid, slightly dull man. Castle's African wife is portrayed by the very beautiful model Imam who, like most beautiful models, cannot act her way out of a paper bag. This hurts the film quite a bit since she is key to explaining why Castle decides to defect to Russia and her wooden performance makes Castle's sacrifice for her kinda ludicrous. There are some good things in this film. When you have Graham Greene and Tom Stoppard writing your dialogue you'd have to be a truly crappy actor or actress (like Imam) not to have some zingers that are well delivered, and pros like Robert Morley, Richard Attenborough, and Derek Jacobi do not disappoint. Actually, my favorite in the cast was an actor I've never heard of named Richard Vernon who plays the head of MI5 and is terrifying in the utter ordinariness of his immorality. Give it a very generous B minus as the last hurrah of a great director.

  • A Must See Greene

    • greenegreat
    • 11/2/14

    Watched this for an early Jacobi performance,and loved him!His character is tragic,murdered because of false suspicion of passing info,when Nicholson's character the guilty party.Early Iman performance as the diplomat's wife.

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