Parents' Guide to

Damascus Cover

By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

1989-set spy thriller has violence and sex.

Movie R 2018 93 minutes
Damascus Cover Poster Image

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Apart from its focus on Rhys Meyers' character, this spy-themed potboiler falls into familiar patterns of betrayals and captures, which ends up lowering the stakes. And the plot is sometimes hard to follow, which doesn't help. Damascus Cover isn't especially memorable, but it does benefit from strong performances by the two leads. Rhys Meyers does some of his best work to date; he's convincingly intense as a Mossad agent struggling with a personal tragedy. Thirlby, while underused, is layered and beguiling enough to make us understand how Ben-Zion could be distracted from his job. John Hurt appears briefly in one of his final film roles.

For some reason, the action is shifted from the 1977 setting of Kaplan's novel to 1989, but the film doesn't particularly feel like a period piece in any case. Kaplan's book has been praised for its atmospheric, political knowledge of Syria, but that's not as evident here. The movie's emphasis on the spy as a person helps distinguish it from the espionage-movie pack, but it's not exactly suspenseful. Bottom line? You could do worse than Damascus Cover. But you could also do better.

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