Film: The Little Drummer Girl

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Film:

The Little Drummer Girl

Director: George Roy Hill
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Warner

Middle-eastern terrorism provides the dense, perpetually timely context of The Little Drummer Girl, loyally adapted from John Le Carré’s complex bestseller. It’s slow going at first, taking pains to establish the tragically complicated plight of Charlie (Diane Keaton), a left-wing, pro-Palestinian actress, recruited by Israeli intelligence in 1981 to play the role of a lifetime: Once her loyalties are turned, she will lure a dominant Palestinian terrorist (Sami Frey) into a deadly trap. She’s an unwitting pawn, vulnerable to romance (particularly with her…

Reviews

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Middle-eastern terrorism provides the dense, perpetually timely context of The Little Drummer Girl, loyally adapted from John Le Carré’s complex bestseller. It’s slow going at first, taking pains to establish the tragically complicated plight of Charlie (Diane Keaton), a left-wing, pro-Palestinian actress, recruited by Israeli intelligence in 1981 to play the role of a lifetime: Once her loyalties are turned, she will lure a dominant Palestinian terrorist (Sami Frey) into a deadly trap. She’s an unwitting pawn, vulnerable to romance (particularly with her Israeli recruiter, played with subtle conviction by Greek-born Yorgo Voyagis), and Keaton brings sympathetic naiveté to her character’s potentially lethal dilemma. Klaus Kinski is arguably miscast as the Israeli intelligence chief, but viewers are more likely to stumble over the film’s constant flow of intricate detail. The Little Drummer Girl is not always easy to follow, but attentive viewers will be rewarded, and the plot itself is, sadly, as relevant as ever. —Jeff Shannon

Related Works

Book:The Little Drummer Girl: A Novel

The Little Drummer Girl: A Novel

John le Carré

John le Carré has earned worldwide acclaim with novels that navigate the shadow worlds of espionage. In The Little Drummer Girl, one of his most enduring works, le Carré took leave of the Circus, George Smiley, and all his people, and presented instead an original canvas that remains, two decades later, stunningly fresh and topical. It was then, and is now, a thrilling, moving, and courageous novel of Middle Eastern intrigue.

Charlie is a promiscuous, unsuccessful, English actress in her twenties. Vacationing on the Greek island of Mykonos with friends, she longs for commitment. But to what? To whom? Intrigued by a handsome, solitary bather, Charlie finds herself lured into the “theatre of the real.” For the mysterious man is Kurtz, an embattled Israeli intelligence officer out to stop the bombing of Jews in Europe. Forced to play her most challenging role, Charlie is plunged into a deceptive and delicate trap set to ensnare an elusive Palestinian terrorist…and soon proves herself a double agent of the highest order.

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