- Movie Rating -

The Whistleblower (1987)

| July 10, 1987

The Whistle Blower feels very much like a rebuke of the James Bond, a series turns the world of Cold War spies into a lot of theatrics, far from the real game as it is played.  That’s not to knock the Bond films, I’m first in line every time one comes out, but it is interesting to see a film about the British Spy apparatus that doesn’t seem to want to chase 007.

At first, in fact, I didn’t even know that spy stuff was part of the tapestry.  The Whistle Blower opens as one of those day-in-the-life kind of portraits that follows a man who owns a small office equipment business, then only gradually we learn that he spent many years as part of British Intelligence.  And yes, like most men in movies like this, that life is all behind him.

His name is Frank Jones and he is played by Michael Caine as one of those men that you wouldn’t look twice at if he passed you on the street every day for five years.  Frank does not draw attention to himself and his interior life is dedicated to his son who is a nice kid, but like any other young person lives and untidy life,  Frank is concerned because he is currently in a relationship with an older woman with a child.

The family dynamics make for a film that held my attention.  Then, at a very even pace, the movie begins to move the international intrigue stuff into the plot.  I like the way that the tide turns on Frank’s simple life and suddenly he’s back in the game.  Much of the plot I won’t reveal only to say that what comes in the film’s second half wasn’t nearly as interesting as what happened in the first.  I could have watched a drama about a man concerned with his son’s love life because Caine has a way of standing still and observing.  We can feel his quiet tension, his concern.  He doesn’t have to say anything.  He’s that good of an actor.

That’s not to say that the spy stuff was boring or uninteresting, but I felt that I’d seen it before.  This is a film that is very angry about the institution of international intelligence, the James Bond stuff.  It doesn’t see it as a glorious adventure full of exotic locations and gorgeous women.  It is seen here as a cold, brutal reality full of double crosses and heartbreaking decisions.  I’m being mum about the details and there is a reason for that.  See for yourself.  You’ll be glad you did.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Drama