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Yuri Nosenko: Double Agent

4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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(Jan 20, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

No Description Available.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: PG
Release Date: 20-JAN-2004
Media Type: DVD

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Tommy Lee Jones, Josef Sommer, Ed Lauter, Oleg Rudnik, Edwin M. Adams
  • Directors: Mick Jackson
  • Writers: Stephen Davis
  • Producers: David Elstein, David Streit, Elizabeth Small, Graham Massey
  • Format: Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: January 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000YEERQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,304 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Yuri Nosenko: Double Agent" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Based largely on declassified transcripts, this is a very well-done reconstruction of the events surrounding a major scandal that ripped apart the CIA in the 1960s and 1970s. James Angleton was then chief of counter-intelligence, and after his close friend Kim Philby defected to the Soviet Union, Angleton grew increasingly obsessed with finding other Soviet moles in the highest ranks of U.S. intelligence. One defector (Golitsyn) played into the fears of the hawks by emphasizing the seriousness of the Soviet threat; another defector (Nosenko) insisted there was no serious threat. Following closely on the heals of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Kennedy assassination, the choice on whom to believe carried serious implications for U.S. security. In an unsuccessful effort to break Nosenko, Angleton and his staff put Nosenko into solitary confinement for almost three years--and though major inconsistencies were uncovered in Nosenko's story, he was never broken. In the course of the investigation, Angleton's drive to uncover the Soviet mole(s) in the CIA ruined the careers of more than forty people; the scandal that followed led to Angleton's dismissal, and the CIA's inclination to wash its hands of HUMINT (human intelligence sources) in favor of SIGINT (technology-driven intelligence). This opened the way for later Soviet infiltrations (Walker, Ames, Hansen), but also set an unfortunate precedent--the CIA's distrust of HUMINT--that seriously undermined U.S. security in the post-Cold War era.

For more details, see the CIA's dlecassifed version: [...]
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Tommy Lee Jones plays Steve Daley, a CIA officer tasked in the early 1960s with handling Yuri Nosenko, a supposed KGB defector with important information on Lee Harvey Oswald. "Steve Daley" is a pseudonym for "Pete" Bagley who recently wrote the book "Spy Wars" about the controversial Nosenko case. The movie gives an accurate picture of a very complex affair that was never completely resolved to everyone's satisfaction. This movie is the antithesis of a James Bond film of gun battles and car chases; instead, the battles are those of brains and will. The movie seems to largely reflect the opinions of Bagley/Daley, who ultimately concluded that Nosenko was a false defector intended to mislead the CIA about possible Soviet penetration.
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YURI NOSENKO: KGB(1986) Directed by Mick Jackson

Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Ed Lauter and Josef Sommer as James Angleton.

In 1964, KGB agent Yuro Nosenko defected to the the West. However it was greatly suspected within CIA circles that he was, in actuality, a double agent sent to A) Discredit a previous defector named Anatoly Golitsyn and B) deflect any suspicion that Lee Harvey Oswald was a KGB assassin. Consequently he was put in solitary confinement for four years and constantly interrogated until finally being confirmed as a genuine defector and released.

Jones plays the CIA agent---name changed---who was Nosenko's handler and who believed that he is a double agent. The film pretty much sides with the idea that Nosenko was a double but it does appear particularly since the collapse of the Soviet Union has made further information available that Nosenko was genuine..........which puts this film is an awkward position since both it and its hero are wrong.

This BBC film covers much of the same material as in the miniseries THE COMPANY including the search for the legendary Communist mole in the CIA..known only as Sasha. It has a solid handling of the period especially the automobilies. Unlike THE COMPANY, it is more favorably disposed towards Angleton. The acting is so low key and underplayed as to be practically catatonic. Even though it leans towards the Jones' characters's take on Nosenko, the film hedges its bets a great deal and the film lacks a real resolution. It is unclear just what the film is attempting to accomplish.

It is not a bad film but neither is it an especially good one either.
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Largely reflecting the pro-Angelton view of Edward Jay Epstein ("Legend"), who was a consultant on the film, it is as accurate as one can hope to get on the Nosenko mystery. The recent film Good Shepard, which includes some of the same characters in composite, is laughable by comparison as history.
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This film is the story of the defection of Yuri Nosenko to the CIA at the height of the Cold War. Tommy Lee Jones plays the real-life role of Nosenko's CIA case officer. Essentially, when Nosenko defected there was a question as to whether Nosenko was a genuine KGB defector, or whether he was deliberately sent by the KGB to confuse the CIA within the "wilderness of mirrors." Was he a genuine defector? Was he sent over to discredit earlier Soviet defectors? Was he sent over to help establish the bona fides of other defectors and sources, such as the FBI's prized "Fedora" source? Each point of view had its champions within CIA. Ultimately, James Jesus Angleton, the head of CIA internal security, determined that Nosenko was not genuine. Other CIA factions vehemently believed otherwise, leading to great dissension within the CIA ranks. Nosenko was kept in solitary confinement for several years, and hard-interrogated repeatedly. He never broke. Ultimately the CIA accepted his defection as genuine. Angleton did not, and this contributed to his eventual forced-retirement from the CIA.

This film is a fascinating story of CIA internal conflict and politics. It gives insight into the difficulty that the CIA faced as it went up against the ruthless and sometimes competent KGB. The viewer can decide for him or her self what to think about Nosenko.

The DVD is not of terribly high quality. The transfer contains some noise and imperfections, but it is not too bad.

Well worth watching for the espionage aficionado. Recommended. RJB.
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