2019 | Series | In English | 6 Episodes. Each episode is between 47 and 62 minutes
In the late 1960s, Eli Cohen (no relation to the actor) is an Egyptian-born Israeli stuck in a boring job as a clerk in a department store. Applying for an adventurous job as a Mossad operative, he’s unfortunately rejected. However, good fortune strikes. Fluent in Arabic, he is recruited by Dan Peleg, a Mossad official, to be an Israeli spy in Syria. He undergoes months of training. When he’s ready to leave, he’s told not to tell anyone what he’s up to. He tells his devoted wife Nadia that he’s off on a buying trip for a furniture company. He’s first sent to Argentina, where there is a large contingent of Syrian officials. This gives Eli (now going under the name of Kamel) an opportunity to immerse himself in Syrian society. After he oils his way into their circle, he departs for Syria to do his spying. He succeeds beyond everyone’s expectations. Information he has transmitted to Israel will help tremendously when war breaks out in 1967. When he attempts to quit, Dan talks him out of it. His work is vital to ensure Israel’s security. In fact he is so successful and convincing, that Colonel al-Hafez, the future leader of Syria, appoints him as his Deputy Defense Minister. But he’s beginning to encounter many close calls. He knows if he’s caught he’s a dead man. And he misses his wife and children. How long can this go on?
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 83%
- Metacritic Score: 73
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Sacha Baron Cohen provides another reminder that being a clown requires serious acting chops, which the famous prankster puts to use in “THE SPY,” a taut Netflix limited series based on a pretty remarkable true story. Set in the early 1960s, it’s the Israeli version of James Bond, with a gritty edge and a constant sense of jeopardy.
Sacha Baron Cohen shines as an Israeli spy in this new Netflix series. Casting an actor known for his comedy to play a serious role as an undercover Mossad spy in Syria might seem to be a reckless decision. But in his first leading role in a drama, Sacha Baron Cohen proves the theory wrong with a stunning performance.
While comic actors are generally better equipped to play drama than serious performers are to be funny, not everyone has the skill to cross that stylistic divide. But Sacha Baron Cohen couldn’t have found a role more well-suited to his gifts and career to date. “THE SPY” is a thriller played entirely straight, but it also feels like Baron Cohen’s persona with vastly higher stakes.
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