The state of the nation’s press and the evil antics of its secret services in the nuclear age are combined in this fast-paced thriller.
Script unravels a relatively uncomplicated story of events following the near crash of a nuclear bomber on an American airforce base in the English countryside. A left-wing MP who gets wind of the event is framed as a Russian spy and forced to resign. His journalist friend is bumped off secretly shortly before publishing details of the incident.
The story centers on a younger hack who enjoys the triumph of cracking the link between parliamentarian Markham and a Russian agent, only to discover after the death of his friend that he has been set up by the secret services.
A female character, Nina Beckman (Greta Scacchi), is strangely marginal. By the time she enters center stage as Mullen’s journalistic accomplice, her only function is to tie up a few loose ends.
Gabriel Byrne is somewhat one-dimensional as Mullen. He’s a perfect foil, however, to the older journalist caught between friendship, the truth and his career. Denholm Elliott gives an extraordinary performance in that role.