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Eye of the Needle

Eye of the Needle

Tonight the Oscars will be given out to people in the film industry by people in the film industry. Let us hope that no one gets a broken arm from patting themselves on the back. In honor of the Academy Awards I am writing about a movie that got no nominations for an Oscar. It seems fitting.

Yesterday I watched “Eye of the Needle,” which is a 1981 film based on Ken Follett’s 1978 novel. The novel was originally titled “Storm Island,” scene of much of the action. And there is a lot of action in the movie.

The basic plot is about a German spy, played by Donald Sutherland, during World War II. He has information about the D-Day invasion that he is trying to get out of England and into the hands of Adolph Hitler. Along the way he meets a married British woman, played by Kate Nelligan, on Storm Island.

I only have two minor complaints about the movie. 1) For me the story seems to move too quickly. I’m pretty sure that is was written and cut that way to keep the excitement level high, so I shouldn’t complain…I suppose. But a more moderately paced movie would have suited me better. 2) Donald Sutherland’s English accent didn’t ring true to me. I’m sure his accent was better than any I could do, and it was consistent throughout the movie, but it struck me as false. Maybe I’ve seen him in too many other movies where he wasn’t using an accent.

Offsetting my quibbles was the fact that one of the most minor roles in the movie, Squadron Leader Blenkinsop, was played by one of my favorite actors, Bill Nighy. I almost didn’t recognize him. He was credited as the last actor in order of appearance. At least he got a credit.

I like thrillers, and this movie was certainly thrilling. There is no air of inevitability in the way the movie ends, even though we know how the war ended. I recommend that you find a copy of the movie and watch it…unless you are 13 or younger.

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