Based on real events near the end of the Cold War, Christian Carion's well-made but routine French spy movie is set mostly in Russia. (Though in D.C. there are a few scenes with Fred Ward playing Ronald Reagan; and CIA agent Willem Dafoe shows up late to deliver a nice long speech.) Working in Moscow, married with two kids, French engineer Pierre does what he thinks will be a small favor for his boss by accepting some papers from Sergei, who turns out to be a KGB colonel with Western sympathies. (The two are played, respectively, by Guillaume Canet and Emir Kusturica, both film directors in their own right.) Sergei has secrets to spill, including the KGB's shocking infiltration of French and American spy agencies. Soon Pierre is pulled into the familiar espionage terrain of purloined dossiers, microfilm drops, paranoia, and hidden microphones. Until, of course, Pierre's family is threatened. But Farewell (Sergei's code name) is most interesting for treating male friendship seriously. And families—Sergei's is put at risk by a workplace affair (cue the delightfully vixenish Dina Korzun), while Pierre's wife (Alexandra Maria Lara) seems to have far more sense than he. "I married an engineer," she hisses at him, "not James Bond!" Though in truth, a little more James Bond would help here.
Kusturica plays the double agent.
Opens at Seven Gables, Fri., Aug. 6. Not rated. 113 minutes.