Setting and performances aside, Damascus Cover is a forgettable spy thriller that bulldozes over its real-life relevance in favour of shoehorned romance and hackneyed characters. Less Mission: Impossible; more ‘Mission: Thrown Out The Window’.
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The film trots out thinly conceived villains and a murky plot twists that leave crucial details needlessly shrouded in mystery.
The serviceable but astonishingly generic Damascus Cover features the usual political-thriller tropes — tough but haunted protagonist, zigzag of foreign locales, rival spies, arcane twists, shifting allegiances, wedged-in romance — without adding much that feels unique or exciting.
As one Syrian character tells another, “Timing is everything in this business,” and timing is only one flawed aspect of this uneven movie.
Unfortunately, Berk’s movie is too plodding and predictable to generate anything more than a modest level of suspense; worse, it lacks enough excitement to qualify even as instantly forgettable popcorn entertainment.
The twist ending is muddled, and has a rather bland and emollient equivalence between intelligence agencies.
Despite the clumsy writing and production design, Thirlby and Hurt acquit themselves perfectly well, and Jürgen Prochnow makes an enjoyably ripe appearance as a former Nazi who unwittingly helps direct Ari towards his target.
Sadly, Berk’s stale screenplay simply lacks the heft or depth to lift it above third-hand homage to earlier, better, smarter films.