London Spy

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london-spy-first-season.39133Warning: I’m on a Ben Whishaw (“The Crucible”) crusade. He brilliantly carries the weight of this wrenching 5-part British murder mystery. I’m not sure there’s a single scene without him in it, lucky for us. (He also shines in “The Hour,” a BBC series from 2011.) “London Spy” begins with a chance love story between two young men, which then gyrates into murder, espionage, and the secret, nasty workings of London’s MI6. Whishaw’s scenes with his elderly mentor, Jim Broadbent, are studies in restraint and tenderness. Charlotte Rampling’s turn as the cruel mother of Whishaw’s lover sends chills, but he stands with her toe-to-toe. The reviews have been mixed, and many of them complain that things move too slowly, but I say what’s the rush when you’re watching such masterful acting? The locations add to the gorgeous gloom: Rampling’s estate house at Hampstead Heath; Broadbent’s enviable mid-century home; and the desolate beaches and marshes of the Isle of Grain in Kent, England. Next up for me: to watch Whishaw in the new James Bond film, “Spectre,” where he plays the  quartermaster, Q.

Pia Ehrhardt

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