Soft Targets (1982)
Written by Stephen Poliakoff and Directed by Charles Sturridge
Soft Targets gives an intense, almost dreamlike, vision of London as seen through the eyes of a minor Russian official as he goes about his daily business, desperate to get back to his homeland. Filmed in 1982 when the Cold War was still very much in evidence and every Russian in London was regarded as a spy by anyone he met. The story is also a study in loneliness and charts a bittersweet love story between Alexei and an Englishwoman played by Helen Mirren who is suffering a crisis of identity.
An unusual role for Helen Mirren, she gives an extremely touching performance as Celia and Ian Holm gives an excellent performance as the Russian Official.
The film features a fascinating supporting cast including Desmond Llewelyn who famously played ‘Q’ in a number of James Bond films, Thorley Walters, Tony Doyle and Chris Langham. There are very brief appearances by a youthful Rupert Everett and Julian Sands.
Meticulously directed by Charles Sturridge, the script offers a highly original angle on the paranoia of the Cold War, concentrating on two fragile individuals caught up in the political tensions of their day.
Soft Targets is available on DVD as part of the Helen Mirren BBC collection.