Despite the Falling Snow | Film review - A double dose of romantic spy intrigue

Despite the Falling Snow Rebecca Ferguson.jpg
(Image credit: Aleksandar Letic)

So good as an enigmatic secret agent in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Rebecca Ferguson gets up to more espionage shenanigans in Despite the Falling Snow, but her slinky allure can do little to enliven this stodgy spy tale.

The movie unfolds in Moscow and New York in two different periods, 30 years apart, and Ferguson plays a role in each. In the late-1950s/early-1960s, she is Katya, the loyal wife of earnest young Soviet functionary Alexander (Sam Reid) yet secretly opposed to the regime. And in the early 1990s, she is Lauren, the American artist niece of the older émigré Alexander (Charles Dance), who defected to the US in 1961 but remains unaware of his wife’s fate.

Despite the Falling Snow Rebecca Ferguson Oliver Jackson-Cohen.jpg

(Image credit: Aleksandar Letic)

Writer-director Shamim Sarif, adapting her own novel as she did with her previous films, The World Unseen and I Can’t Think Straight, is aiming to create a tragic romance out of this intrigue yet misses her target thanks to her contrived plotting and trite dialogue.

Her stars can’t be faulted, however, and the film certainly looks good, but at a time when the adaptation of John le Carré’s The Night Manager has raised the bar for emotionally tangled espionage intrigue, Sarif’s effort falls well short.

Certificate 12A. Runtime 93 mins. Director Shamim Sarif

Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.