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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Archangel (review)

Oh, everyone’s getting on the Daniel Craig-IS-James Bond bandwagon now, making sure that every single frame of film he’s ever appeared in is out on DVD this week. (Look for grainy Super 8 footage his dad shot of his first baby steps: coming soon!) The latest: Archangel, a made-for-British-TV movie from 2005 based on yet another potboiler by Robert Harris, who writes historical what-if novels that become best sellers by pretending to ask serious questions but never really demanding that the reader (or here, the viewer) muck about with any of that tedious thinking stuff. Craig (Infamous) is a professor of Russian history on a jaunt to present-day Moscow who stumbles upon a secret leftover from the days of Stalin: a notebook that may have been the murderous leader’s diary … or may have belonged to someone in his innermost circle … and may contain a revelation so shocking that it will shake even modern post-Soviet Russia to its foundations, or something. Even diehard Craig fans may want to give this a pass, because he does little but chase around one silly macguffin after another: he doesn’t get to be all angsty, like he does so well, and he doesn’t get to be all action-hero-y, like we’re gonna see he does so well, either. He mostly just stands around trying to look professorial, and failing, because the rest of the movie around him is so dumb. [buy at Amazon, if you must]

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
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