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Review: Farewell

The big winner in this fact-based KGB drama? Western pop culture.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  August 4, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars


Somewhere between the shenanigans of Angelina Jolie in Salt and the ineptitude of the Russian moles recently deported to Moscow lie the exploits of KGB colonel Sergei Grigoriev (Emir Kusturica), who's known to French intelligence as "Farewell."

According to Christian Carion's unpretentious, engrossing account of this based-in-fact story, it isn't Ronald Reagan (played by Fred Ward in a jarring cameo) but rather the fictitious Grigoriev (a version of actual turncoat Vladimir Vetrov) who's responsible for the defeat of the Soviet Union in the Cold War. In the '80s, dismayed by the direction his country has taken, Grigoriev passes on secrets to the West via Pierre (Guillaume Canet), a French engineer drawn into the intrigue like a character in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

But the real winner might be Western pop culture — Grigoriev insists on getting paid off in Queen recordings for his son. The losers are the same as always: ordinary people whose ideals are exploited by the cynical and powerful.

  Topics: Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Ronald Reagan,  More more >
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