Rachel (Diane Kruger) calls Thomas (Martin Freeman) and says “My father died. Again.” It’s code for: get me the hell out of here. She is the operative, he is her handler, and she worked undercover in Tehran for the Mossad where things got…sticky. Her subject, Farhad (Cas Anvar) becomes her entanglement and if things were complicated before, well, they only get more so. Is she working both sides? Have her allegiances shifted? Dude it’s hard to trust a spy. Now, years later, she’s bringing Thomas back in. But why?
And also: who cares? The truth about spy work is that it’s probably boring like 99% of the time. Lots of sitting and waiting. Reading. Researching. Waiting some more. Blending in. Not getting up to much. Waiting for the phone to ring. Movies cut that shit right out. To be fair, The Operative edits out those same things as well, gets right to the getting-the-hands-dirty in the field bits. And yet it still, amazingly, manages to be incredibly boring. Incredibly.
Neither the story nor the characters were compelling. I love Martin Freeman but despite him being as animated as this movie got, I still couldn’t muster much enthusiasm. Diane Kruger was as remarkable as a boiled potato. More than once I asked Sean how much longer this movie had left, and more than once that Netflix progress bar seemed barely to have moved.
Yuval Adler’s film is unflashy and unstylish. Calling it forgettable is an insult to films I’ve merely forgotten. This one caused a fair bit of frustration even as I forgot it. I could hardly keep my attention even half on the film, snapping it back only to be disappointed by instant boredom yet again. And then it ended. Well, not so much ended as stopped. It just stopped being a movie exactly when it seemed it might have justified its existence. But no. The thing you’ve hung in there for 2 hours for…it never materializes. And yet you’re only half mad because even if you didn’t get a satisfying ending, at least it’s over.