The Little Drummer Girl in AMC, revised.

adminNovember 19, 2018

Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgård in The Little Drummer Girl.

Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgård in The little drummer.

Jonathan Olley / AMC

The little drummer, The elegant adaptation of the director of Park Chan-wook of the novel John le Carré, premieres at AMC on Monday night. In what appears to be an attempt to approach binge watching, the network is broadcasting all six episodes on consecutive nights, two episodes a night. Two episodes per night sound like a reasonable amount: a generous portion of ice cream, but not the entire box. But if you're like me, two hours will not be enough. I wanted to eat everything at once.

The series begins with a bombing of 1979 in the capital of West Germany, Bonn. A team of the Mossad directed by Martin Kurtz (Michael Shannon) descends into the creepy scene and quickly deduces that it is the work of a Palestinian terrorist cell composed of several Westerners and Michel (Amir Khoury), the younger brother of the mysterious bomb maker Khalil. Kurtz invents a plan to infiltrate the Khalil network, a plan whose most important player is a young British actress with no experience in counterintelligence.

Charlie Ross (Florence Pugh) is a bohemian who lives in London, who plays Joan of Arc with his theater company, which supports an imbecile boyfriend and who respects the appropriate leftist politics for the period. His company has the opportunity to go to Greece, where they find a tall Adonis, with scars and mysterious spots, in a very small swimsuit, which we already know is a Mossad agent named Gadi Becker (Alexander Skarsgård, playing tortured and a little wood). Charlie hates it, until she does not. He courts her, takes her away from her friends, takes her on a private and dream tour of the Acropolis, and then launches an espionage plan. The Israelis want Charlie, an actress with no ties to Israel who is not even Jewish, to act on what Kurtz likes to call "the theater of the real."

Appealing to Charlie's interest and abilities as an actress, it will be his most important role! The most important role an actor could play! The Israelis present a plan that, in the words of Cher Horowitz, is a complete Monet: up close, it is a great disaster. However, from a distance, thanks to Park Chan-wook, everything looks hazy and beautiful (the color of mustard has never looked so elegant!) And it advances sexually. The Israelis explain to Charlie that they want to pass a fiction as a fact to convince Khalil and his associates that Charlie is Michel's lover and political disciple, a woman he can trust. To sell this trick, she and Gadi travel through Europe with him playing Michel, leaving a trail of evidence of his partner. Gadi even plays Michel with Charlie, piercing her in her story and personality so that she can more fully inhabit her character, a woman deeply in love with Michel and dedicated to the Palestinian cause. It is all spy improvisation: high-level games, three-dimensional games, in which fiction, lust, control and strategy are as impossible to unravel as a rope ball after it has been attacked by a group of wild cats.

It's all a spy improvisation: high-level games, three-dimensional games, in which fiction, lust, control and strategy are as impossible to unravel as a rope ball after being attacked by a pack of savages. the cats

All these games of espionage, psychosexuals and world-wide construction, occupy the first half of the series, and I realized that when I wrapped it like popcorn it reminded me of nothing more than the first two seasons of Homeland. Do not run away! I think this, like the word. zaftig, Really can be A compliment, when applied in the right conditions. Like those first seasons of Homeland, it's a spy drama of realpolitik with some ridiculous conspiracies (and foreign accents) that add up to the sexual chemistry of a spy and a handler, spying seemingly at the center of the story, becoming the backdrop for a romance between bright and tortured people who should know better If everything gets a bit corny at times, you'll have to find someone who hates rom-coms much more than me to complain.

The later half of Little drummer separates gadi and charlie. Kurtz's plan works: the emissaries of the Khalil team approach Charlie and take them to Palestine to receive more training. Will she remain an Israeli agent or will she turn against her handlers? I had not read Little drummer In years, and my foggy memory served well for this adaptation: I did not care that it was much lighter than the book. In the novel, Charlie's experiences in Palestine are deeper, more lasting, more demanding. Playing on both sides eventually fractures his psyche. It's not that Charlie whistles and smiles through the final episodes of the series, but she never seems totally undone either. This is due, in part, to the lovely Pugh, who projects an unsinkable moxie, the kind of competition that a woman who could be the owner of an action franchise can do. She is only 22 years old, the same age that Charlie is supposed to have, but she seems older, harder, firmer, safer. I found it very attractive and I hope to see it in whatever it is that I do next (including Greta Gerwig's adaptation of Little woman), although his cordial health undermines the tension around the psychological torment of his character.

Pugh is helped in all this by the script. The series is surprisingly hard for Israelis (although not as hard as the novel). The protagonists are working to stop a terrorist cell that considers innocent civilians acceptable collateral damage, but Mossad agents, and in particular Kurtz, are deeply and grotesquely committed to achieve their ends regardless of the means. They favor selective killings over bombing campaigns only in some circumstances, and only because they have the resources to make the distinction between the two. There are only two somewhat fleshy Palestinian characters, but in spite of being terrorists, they are not demonized, and the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict comes largely from their perspective. The end of the series only promises that the escalation of the conflict will continue indefinitely, an endless war, and yet, by decreasing the psychic damage suffered by Charlie, the series takes over those who did the damage. Things get even sunnier with a final touch of romance that borders on the service of admirers. The lasting of Charlie for Gadi does not make much sense, but as the series ended, I decided that the best course of action would be to see everything again, only to discover how little.

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