COUP 53 ★★★★
(Cert 15, 120mins. See coup53.com/ screenings)
HISTORY buffs and John le Carré fans should love this explosive documentary about Britain’s shameful involvement in a 1953 Iranian coup.
Affable British-Iranian director Taghi Amirani spent 10 years uncovering the details of a joint MI6 and CIA operation to unseat the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, and
he shows the method and the madness this entailed.
The PM had been named Time magazine’s Man Of The Year in 1951 but nationalising the Iranian assets of a BP-controlled oil company put him in the crosshairs of the British establishment.
His successor, the corrupt Shah, was more friendly to British interests, until he was deposed in 1979 by the Islamic Revolution.
Amirani brings his research to the fore, structuring the film around his often surreal search for
secret documents. His best find is a transcript of an interview with British spy Norman Darbyshire, mysteriously excised from a 1980s BBC TV documentary.
Ralph Fiennes plays him in a reconstruction, expertly channelling the arrogance and the cultured amorality of these ruthless gentlemen assassins.
It’s like an out-take from Tinker, Tailor,