06 January 2006

Review: The Ipcress File (1965)

When a top government physicist goes missing and his minder is found murdered, the British secret service decides to investigate. Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) is transferred to the team looking for the physicist. During the investigation, he discovers something more sinister called Ipcress.

This low-key thriller has all the elements of the "realistic" spy genre: mysterious shadowy men, treachery, seduction, and a bit of action. Sometimes, it feels like it tries to be too realistic when the agents also have to do boring surveillance tasks, fill in forms and survive departmental politics.

Michael Caine is perfect as the bespectacled gourmet Harry Palmer, playing him with the right amount of cheek, charm and ruthlessness expected of a public service secret agent. A youngish Gordon Jackson co-stars as Palmer's partner, Jock, with that very recognisable Scottish accent.

Very dated but watchable.

Stars: 3 out of 5