Defence of the Realm (Defense of the Realm) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Defence of the Realm (Defense of the Realm) Reviews

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October 12, 2015
Good story that continuously evolves as it goes. A British newspaper walks a fine line between fact and speculation when it exposes a potential spy that works with the Soviet bloc countries. Ethics get tossed out the window but upper management seems pleased with the sales figures.
½ July 15, 2015
British dignitary is smeared by a reporter in a premature report after an incident at a US nuclear base in the UK. Reporter continues to pursue the story with leads from a colleague who casts doubt on the initial reports. Interesting British film with themes revolving around ethics in reporting an politics.
January 2, 2014
what starts out as a movie about a member of british parliament having an affair with a woman who maybe part of the kgb turns into a conspiracy thriller concerning a reporter investigating into covert operations between the british government and the american government. the truth he discovers will bring a shock to both systems of government. this is an excellent political thriller. nicely photographed by roger deakins and directed well by david drury with equally impressive performances from gabriel byrne, denholm elliott and greta scacchi. this is one film worth checking out.
½ January 2, 2013
A solid British thriller that has fantastic performances from a solid cast, an interesting and wonderful plot, has a really good score and the finale is taut and tense.
September 24, 2012
Feels dated now, yet the heavy atmosphere and tension fuelled with paranoia makes this a must see film.
½ April 2, 2012
Defense of the Realm is a difficult movie to follow, especially for the first 20 minutes or so. There is so much background noise which makes it difficult to hear the leading characters, and at the beginning, you don't really who which characters are important either. Adding to the incomprehensibility is the mumbling diction of Denholm Elliott and Bill Forsyth. Eventually, I became very intrigued by the plot's suspense.
The movie shows a newspaper reporter played by Gabriel Byrne who picks up the trail of a cover-up plot, but by whom and what it is that is being covered up remain fuzzy. He is interrogated by some sort of "spooks" at MI-something or other with no legal rights whatsoever. Unfortunately, all this big suspense leads up to an insufficient event to warrant this much covering-up. We are really never told exactly what it is that happened, just given innuendos to make us think this is a really BIG deal! The ending is completely unsatisfying. There is no depth of characterization, just a lot of suspicion, of the sort designed to make the public distrustful of their government officials. The whole thing seemed like a paranoid piece of fluff, despite the presence of so many excellent British actors/actresses.
August 27, 2011
Pretty slow-moving, but the payoff is worth it. I imagine this film would be more captivating in 1980s Britain.
August 16, 2011
Feels dated now, yet the heavy atmosphere and tension fuelled with paranoia makes this a must see film.
½ March 15, 2011
A largely unnoticed 1980s thriller, "Defense of the Realm" stars Gabriel Byrne as a reporter determined to uncover a possible conspiracy theory in London. Byrne is excellent here in one of his earliest roles, as well as Denholm Elliot as his flawed colleague. Although slow in places and quite complicated, the film is suspenseful and taut and shocks in its incredibly abrupt, definitive ending. Photographed by Roger Deakins, and directed by David Drury, you can't really go wrong here.
December 19, 2010
Still an enjoyable thriller even after all these years
November 22, 2010
Exciting British political movie which packs a dramatic punch and never fails to engage your interest when dealing with its subject matter.

Gabriel Byrne is excellent as a journalist who begins to uncover a sinister political plot involving a disgraced minister ,the KGB and a Norfolk airforce base.

What helps the film is the supporting cast including Denholm Elliott as a boozy hack who uncovers the mystery and Greta Sacci as an able helper to Byrnes cause.

The director David Drury also gives you a feel for a pre computer press office with a smoky atmosphere and boozy lunches in the corridors of power.

The plot does get a little tangled in places ,but iguess that was the general idea of the film ,it also predates the brilliant Edge of Darkness TV series in dealing with shady political dealings.

A finely polished gem and well worth a second glance
½ October 4, 2010
A political thriller that shows its age. I've recently watched 3 movies that satirize the influence that our government has over the foreign and defense policies of the United Kingdom (the other 2 being The Ghost Writer and In the Loop), but this is by far the weakest. In those cases the messages (even when delivered in installments) were much clearer, the characters much more powerful and evocative. Here, motivations are often under-determined where they aren't just inconsistent, and our protagonist's resistance of his government comes off as not only ill-advised but pointless, and even a little juvenile.
August 29, 2010
Thrilling British espionage thriller. Nice ending
½ August 24, 2010
Decent British thriller about news reporter Gabriel Byrne who finds out about a cover-up involving the British parliament, the KGB, and the American government. Itâ??s a bit confusing (even more confusing if you werenâ??t really paying attention for the first part of the film, like myself), but it picks up as the film progresses. Nice suspenseful moments from time to time, such as the scene in the elevator shaft. A pretty decent ensemble, the score is good (though extremely 80s) and the sound is excellent.
June 19, 2010
well umn just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is a good movie 2 watch.........its got a good cast of actors/actressess throughout this movie.....i think that gabriel byrne, greta scacchi, denholm elliott, bill paterson, fulton mackay, ian bannen, robbie coltrane, frederick treves, david calder play good roles/parts throughout this movie..........i think that gabriel byrne/fulton mackay/bill paterson were great throughout this movie.....i think that the director of this thriller/political thriller movie had done a good job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie....i think that this is a really good thriller movie 2 watch i think that this is a really powerful thriller movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie n its enjoyable 2 watch
½ June 17, 2010
(*** 1/2): Thumbs Up

A very good thriller.
½ December 19, 2009
Very Clever Film this one. The plot does seem pretty complex, but the beauty of it is more that it is a pretty simple plot that is very well disguised and thought out ie: you cannot neccessarily predict it at the time but once you find out you do kick yourself a bit for not realising the solution earlier. Added to this there are some wonderful lead performances from Byrne, Scacchi and Eliott. More impressive (at least in my opinion) is the depth of the entire cast- granted none of them are blockbuster names but if anyone has seen the supporting cast names before (Robbie Coltrane, Bill Paterson, Fulton Mackay, Frederick Treves, Ian Bannen) then they'll know that it is packed with excellent character actors. Add a wonderfully dark, sinister music score and wonderful production in general and you have the ideal film really: a fantastic script and fantastic realisation. I will have4 to agree with the previous reviewer here on one point: don't watch this if you want blockbuster thrills or are not in the mood to concentrate a bit. Otherwise I fully recommend this film.
½ December 8, 2009
great British conspiracy thriller
½ September 20, 2009
A pretty good thriller. It burns pretty slow though, so be ready for that. What makes it even better, is that the scandal the plot refers to, and the crash it also refers to, were both real historical events. The rest of the plot is a fantasy, but it's a very clever, detailed, and fairly complex rendering of events that will keep your mind turning.
February 25, 2009
This is an excellent thriller with much in it for political observers and conspiracy theorists everywhere. An amalgam of truth and fiction which has roots in reality, this film generates suspense for the viewer as well as the actors. Some excellent performances from many stalwarts of British tv and cinema, this has stood the test of time very well. If you are a fan of MI-5 (spooks) you will enjoy this. Also you might want to track down Scandal and Bank Job.
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