MVFF 34: Eliminate: Archie Cookson

The director, Rob Holder, was formerly a cinematographer, and it shows: many of the scenes in his fresh and funny début feature are visually clever and well set-up. A parody of classic British spy shows and films from the Cold War, Eliminate’s details are right, from the hero’s mod glasses to the villains’ trenchcoats, to the mid-century modern furniture and technology. The most arresting group of details lie in Archie Cookson’s office. Smoke, haphazard filing, low-ceilings and grim desks – it smells of both retired spy and petty bureaucracy.

The film’s strength lies in the dynamic which is set up between Archie Cookson and his nemesis. On one side we have a reformed spy who wants a semblance of normalcy and identity to call his own; on the other, a spy-turned-assassin who longs for his former glory (with a vengeance). It is a gentle reminder that the classic spy subsumes his individuality and humanity in order to be someone else’s agent.

Eliminate: Archie Cookson. Dir. by Rob Holder. 767 and Agent Pictures, 2011. In English and Russian.

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