So tasteful it’s torturous, Despite the Falling Snow is a Cold War espionage thriller for those who like their period-piece action airless and derivative.
In 1961 Moscow, government official Alexander (Sam Reid) defects to the U.S., in the process unwillingly leaving behind his wife Katya (Rebecca Ferguson), who was a secret agent working against the Kremlin with the aid of the couple’s revolutionary friend Misha (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). And in 1992 America, Alexander’s (Charles Dance) niece Lauren (also Ferguson) ventures back to Russia to uncover the true fate of her aunt, primarily so writer/director Shamim Sarif can gussy up her ho-hum cloak-and-dagger story with a secondary narrative thread.
What follows is a twin-track bore, as Alexander and Katya enter into a G-rated romance full of tender kisses and delicate lovemaking, and Lauren – while conducting her investigation – briefly falls into a lesbian affair with a Russian reporter (Ante Traue).
Nine years after the inept I Can’t Think Straight, Sarif remains a stilted, stultifying dramatist, with Despite the Falling Snow proving notable only for its British-masquerading-as-Russian accents, as well as its overwhelming lack of energy or inventiveness. In dual roles, Ferguson seems completely adrift, in large part because her characters, and the situations in which they find themselves, feel cribbed from a million prior spy sagas – almost all of them better than this one.
Despite the Falling Snow
Directed by Shamim Sarif
Opens March 31, AMC Empire 25