A Call to Spy review: Radhika Apte-starrer is neither flashy nor bombastic

Written by Shalini Langer | New Delhi |

Updated: December 11, 2020 1:55:48 pm

a call to spy on the movie reviewA call to the spy is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. (Photo: White Turtle Studios)

A cast of Call to Spy: Sarah Megan Thomas, Radhika Apte, Stana Katic, Linus Roache, Rossif Sutherland
Director of A Call to Spy: Lydia dean pilcher
A rating from Call to Spy: Four stars

A Call to Spy is a rare WWII movie that does not seek to cause amazement and fear, the requirements now to win battles. Fair in character with their heroes, a group of largely unannounced female spies (“the headless,” as they were called) who aided Resistance efforts in a France occupied by Hitler’s army, is unremarkable. and bombastic, populated by little people who meet their little deaths, not with big explosions, but with big, big hearts.

For us on the subcontinent, of course, A Call to Spy is vital as one of the people it sheds light on is Noor Inayat Khan, born to an Indian-born Sufi mystic and a British mother, who was chosen by her wireless skills. , placed in one of the most difficult positions during the war, and was praised for holding it bravely to the end.

Director Pilcher, associated with films such as Queen of Katwe and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which also deal with worlds where cultures meet freely, uses Apte well in the role of Noor, without exaggerating or undermining his oriental ancestry, placing the talented actor shoulder to shoulder. among his contemporaries.

Yet the film belongs to Thomas, who wrote, produced, and stars as Virginia Hall, who made her way through history courtesy of the network of agents she helped establish behind enemy lines. A freak accident that left her with a leg amputated below the knee, Hall makes her way into Section F of British Special Operations, operating at 13 Baker Street, because her disability means the United States won’t allow her to convert in diplomatic.

Thomas radiates a calm and dignified courage, especially required of a woman who must appease male egos as she makes her way through uncharted territory. It is this undeniable quality that earns Thomas the trust and friendships he needs to build a network right under the nose of a ruthless and vigilant Gestapo army.

Pilcher does well to bring out several of these friendships, especially in light of the risks they take. A medic (Sutherland), who is Virginia’s initial contact, is just one of the men and women who keep the Resistance going, and A Call to Spy acknowledges the same.

Katic plays Vera Atkins, a Romanian Jewess who on paper is a mere secretary, but actually runs the female spies of British Special Operations. A statuesque actor, Katic’s Atkins is a character, fighting against his own odds and fears, including the instruction from a male colleague that women be “pretty”, which he could have done with some meat. It’s a question the film raises: Are those behind the desk doing their part as much as those on the field. A Call to Spy wants the answer to be yes, but it falls somewhere in a maybe.

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