The year is 1969 and the Cold War is raging. A British spy who was investigating missiles on the East German border has just been killed. The West needs another agent fast and they hire Leiser (Christopher Jones), a handsome and clever young man from Poland. He agrees to be a spy in exchange for political asylum in the West. He sneaks into East Germany and finds not only missiles, but also an very pretty girl, while his trainers (Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Richardson) anxiously wait to hear from him.
This isn't the James Bond kind of spy movie; there's no glitz or glamour and definitely no humor. Instead, it's a grim, pitiless look at the men who pull the strings in the espionage game. There isn't a lot of action; a bleak and hopeless mood of the times pervades the story. With Hopkins and Richardson around, one has to wonder why they recruited an outsider to join British Intelligence, but if you can overlook this plot hole, it is an engrossing film. Handsome Christopher Jones, a James Dean look-alike, is appropriately petulant and charismatic. It's a shame his voice had to be dubbed; one wonders what his voice really sounds like. Young Anthony Hopkins brings his usual intensity and dignity to a rather thankless role. It's an interesting, if cynical, look at the paranoia that characterized the 60s.