The Little Drummer Girl
14th October 2018 5.00pm at Embankment Garden Cinema
15th October 2018 2.30pm at Embankment Garden Cinema
It’s fair to say 2018 has a been a red hot year for BBC Drama series, with The Bodyguard and Killing Eve most recently receiving rave reviews. Now it’s time to line up yet another gripping spy-thriller adventure, but this time one that was born in literature form in 1983, before being adapted into a film in 1984 and subsequently a TV project this year. The title is The Little Drummer Girl, which to the unknowing mind could well mean anything in terms of genre and content, from a sweet story about a little girl joining her school band in the face of adversity, to an alternative version of Katherine Kennicott Davis’s popular Christmas song. But those who have read the book or seen the 80s movie certainly know what explosive drama is in store.
Depicted directly from John le Carré’s 1983 novel, The Little Drummer Girl sees Charlie Ross (Florence Pugh), a British socialist actress from London, thrown into the dark and secretive underworld of emissary operations after being unknowingly recruited in Greece by an alluring stranger named Becker (Alexander Skarsgård) and Israeli Spymaster Martin Kurtz (Michael Shannon). What for exactly? She is not entirely sure, but she is more than politically aware of the constantly boiling hostility between Israelis and Palestinians. Something needs to be done and if she can help, then she is willing to dive into a dangerous world that she has never experienced before. But as her mission evolves, she must also defend herself as her suspicions begin to grow that she is being used as a pawn in a greater game of desires.
Tackling such politically contentious content can always be a challenge in this current day an age, since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still ongoing and is receiving more partisan attention that ever before. What The Little Drummer Girl successfully manages to do is subtract the deep elemental politics from the equation and focus more on developing the character relationships and the suspenseful plot line. There is immediate onscreen chemistry between Pugh and Skarsgård’s mysterious character; something is desperately required in order to make the series work as a whole, and Michael Shannon is once again a joy to watch as the more characterised Kurtz, searching for peace, but doing it all by the book despite his connection to the toils suffered by the Jewish community in the past.
Everything about the film embodies the look and feel of the 70s, whether it be through Jonny Greenwood’s soundtrack, the sets, costumes or props. The colour palette wraps warm hues of orange, browns and greens around every element of every scene, personifying the look of the period and genre of the series. It is certainly a programme that will grow as it proceeds on, with various plot lines converging into a strong, tightly bound end product that grips the viewer further with every development. Are the BBC onto a winner once again? Well Ie Carré never disappointed with his book, and if this series remains true to its roots, they could well be.
The Little Drummer Girl will air on BBC One at 9pm from 28th October 2018.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for The Little Drummer Girl here: