Saw The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, directed by Martin Ritt and starring Richard Burton. Man it’s bleak. Not a laugh in the whole movie. And yet it makes me want to read the entire Le Carre oeuvre. (Alright, the Smiley books. Constant Gardener, ewww.) There are no heroes. The spies are regular schlubs, they don’t carry cool gadgets or drive snazzy cars, and they don’t actually engage in hand-to-hand combat. They wage war with their brains: reading the enemy, predicting their moves, finding exploitable flaws. Double-crosses become triple-crosses become quadruple-crosses. “Intelligence” lives up to its name. One has to admire the cold, calculating bastards who run the agents. I wonder if the fact that the espionage genre has moved on from John Le Carre to the Tom Clancies reflects the decline in “intelligence”. Technology aids the clever, and it also enables the mediocre; it democratises.
I also realized that Russell Crowe wants to be Richard Burton. Same eyes.