29th June 2020 (UK VOD & DVD Premiere)
Sonja Wigert is a diva and star in Stockholm when WW2 breaks out, rapidly getting attention from the Nazi officer Josef Terboven. She's then recruited by Swedish intelligence as a spy, but Terboven makes her spy on the Swedes.
Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rolf Lassgård, Damien Chapelle
In Jens Jonsson’s World War Two espionage drama The Spy, a Swedish superstar actress and performer named Sonja Wigert catches the eye of high ranking Nazi officer Josef Terboven. He invites Wigert to a dinner with many other authority figures present. Seeing the opportunity to get intel on the enemy, Wigert is approached by the Swedish Military and asked to get close to Terboven. She declines the invitation at first, fearing the detrimental effect it will have on her career and wary of the perception her friends and family would take if seen conferring with the Nazi’s. But when a scorned Terboven has Wigert’s father arrested and imprisoned, she begrudgingly backtracks in an attempt to free him.
As she gets closer to Terboven, she falls deeper into a dangerous game when he requests that she spies on the Swedes, making her a double agent. Events get even trickier when Wigert falls for another man, Andor Gellor, a Hungarian aide to the Ambassador.
Based on a true story, The Spy manages to be successfully dramatic without ever feeling sensationalist. The barrage of information, historical overview and character introductions in its opening 20 minutes is slightly overwhelming, but when it’s all calmed down and everyone’s in place, The Spy becomes a powerful drama that’s hard to take your eyes off. Its narrative is satisfyingly plump with impossibly high stakes and yet it never comes off as exaggerated.
This is largely in part to the skilful performances from all involved, especially Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Sonja Wigert. Every emotion imaginable is conveyed convincingly and effortlessly switching in an instant when called upon by a brilliant Berdal as she struggles to juggle her alliances and personal beliefs. The Spy is undoubtedly Wigert’s story and Berdal respectfully does justice to her memory and legacy. Alexander Scheer is immensely impressive as the Reichskommissar for Norway Josef Terboven and the pairs chemistry is at its finest in a remarkable sequence which has Wigert relaying her true feelings towards him through scripted dialogue for a new film’s screen test. It’s breathtaking work by Berdal and displays her superbly multi-layered talent.
In other significant casting, Rolf Lassgård plays Thorston Akrell, a Swedish Military Officer who promises to help Wigert’s family to safety if she aids with information relating to a codename ‘Maria’. Lassgård stoically portrays the Officer but carries an air of mistrust wonderfully in regards to helping Wigert’s family, as his patience visibly wears thin when results are not produced as quickly as he’d like. The subplot of Wingert’s love affair with Hungarian Attache Andor Gellor seemed like one too many sidetracking methods at first for me, but by the time the credits rolled it had rightfully earned its place in the bigger picture.
Surely likely to appease fans of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Bridge of Spies and other similar pictures (not necessarily all with the word ‘Spy’ in the title either), The Spy is an effective, gradually unfolding drama set in a world of rampant mistrust and false loyalties. It had me questioning everything and everyone’s motives and yet I still didn’t figure out who was behind it all before the big reveal. It’s a little known and relatively small-scale impact but no less important chapter in World War Two history and I for one am glad the secret of Wigert’s heroic and self-sacrificial efforts are finally out.
The Spy is available on DVD and Digital HD 29th June 2020 through Signature Entertainment.
The Spy wil
Alluring screen presence of Ingrid Bolsø Berdal
A little known story that is now rightfully told
Overwhelming barrage of characters and information in its opening 20 mins