2009, Movies

L’affaire Farewell (2009, Christian Carion)

This is an interesting attempt at making a “real” spy movie, one where the spies behave like real spies, without car chases, without shoot-outs, without super-intense interrogation scenes.

For the most part it works, but there are enough problems with the finished product that I can’t quite recommend it. Like Argo, it takes liberties with the truth but unlike Argo, it is not quite suspenseful enough. I bring up Argo only because I think it serves as a good comparison of a more successful film of a similar type.

The biggest problem with this film, I think, is that it’s scope is too big – Reagan and Mitterand make appearances and they are totally unnecessary. (As is, I think, the rather odd attempt to connect this story with a “bluff” about the Star Wars program, given that the Star Wars program was a real thing and not just a bluff.) I think the whole background with Dafoe’s character and the presidents takes away from the main story of the film. I also feel like the film could have been cut a little better.

But it’s still an interesting attempt at making a spy thriller we can actually believe.


  • Directed by Christian Carion
  • Produced by Philip Boëffard, Bertrand Faivre, Christophe Rossignon
  • Written by Christian Carion
  • Starring
    • Emir Kusturica – Sergei Grigoriev (based on Vladimir Vetrov)
    • Guillaume Canet – Pierre Froment, an engineer working in the Moscow branch of French electronics conglomerate Thomson-CSF
    • Alexandra Maria Lara – Jessica, his wife
    • Willem Dafoe – Feeney, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
    • Fred Ward – U.S. President Ronald Reagan
    • Philippe Magnan – President François Mitterrand of France
    • Niels Arestrup – Vallier, Director of French Security DST
    • David Soul – Hutton, aide to President Reagan
    • Ingeborga Dapkunaite – Natasha, Grigoriev’s wife
    • Dina Korzun – Alina, Grigoriev’s colleague and mistress
    • Yevgeni Vasilyevich Kharlanov – Igor, the Grigorievs’ son
    • Christian Sandström – Federal Bureau of Investigation agent
    • Diane Kruger, Benno Fürmann, Gary Lewis and Alex Ferns make cameos
  • Music by Clint Mansell
  • Cinematography by Walther van den Ende
  • Edited by Andrea Sedlácková
  • Production company: Canal+
  • Distributed by Pathé
  • Release date: September 4, 2009
  • Running time: 113 minutes
  • Country: France
  • Language: French, Russian, English
  • Budget: $21 million
  • Box office: $7.4 million

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