The Game: hello again 1970s paranoia

The Game - Tom Hughes as Joe Lambe in MI5 HQ
The Cold War espionage thriller set in 1972, The Game, oozes the early 1970s looks, sounds and styles in a masterpiece of set design, filming and lighting. (Save for the odd blind spot of bus stop markings on the road which scream 21st century even as characters in 1970s garb walk past a 1970s style bus.)

Birmingham Central Library does a particularly atmospheric and brutalist job as the venue for filming MI5’s headquarters and more generally Birmingham scenes are expertly used to recreate the look of 1970s London, those bus stop lines aside.

The Game - DVD coverA six part thriller following staff at MI5 as they struggle to untangle a KGB plot, Operation Glass, The Game is heavily character-led. For five of the six episodes, the events are – compared to what has since become public – eminently plausible. The final revelations in episode six do take us rather more into the paranoid world of Peter Wright and James Jesus Angleton but even then the core character dilemmas which are exposed are plausible.

Moreover, rather like the film version of Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy, this show is much more about the characters, their period setting and the style with which it is shot – especially the washed out colours evoking 1970s pessimism and crisis – than with the traditional espionage plot details. (Although Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy does feature a better dustbin.)

The DVD comes with useful extras: subtitles, some excellent deleted scenes (freeze frame on the wedding scene to see a quite brilliant range of facial reactions) and some cast and crew interviews.

If you like this, you might also be interested in the film version of Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy.

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Buy The Game on DVD here.


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