From the director of Joyeux Noël comes this Cold-War spy thriller based on the real-life escapades of a KGB analyst, codenamed “Farewell,” who passes secrets to the French. Serbian actor-director Emir Kusturica (Život je čudo/Life is a Miracle) is terrific as the KGB officer, and another actor-director, Guillame Canet (Jeux d’enfants, Ne le dis à personne), ably portrays a French engineer who acts as an intermediary in the KGB officer’s communications.

There’s a cameo from Diane Kruger, and Willem Dafoe is great in a bit part as the simmering head of the CIA, but the casting of Ronald Reagan (character actor Fred Ward, Naked Gun 33, Short Cuts) is hilariously bad—ditto Gorbachev. Aside from those missteps, L’affaire Farewell (its more direct original title) plods along at a fairly steady pace. Although there’s nothing particularly striking about the way it’s put together, this is a neat, compact (if by-the-numbers) enjoyable espionage thriller.


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