Los Angeles Times

‘Strong’ heats up the Cold War

- — Michael Rechtshaff­en calendar@latimes.com

Fans of Cold War novelists John le Carré and Tom Clancy should warm up to “Jack Strong,” a gripping political thriller based on the exploits of Ryszard Kuklinski, a high-ranking Polish army officer who shared top-secret Soviet documents with the CIA between 1972 and 1981.

Effectivel­y written and directed by Wladyslaw Pasikowski, the Polish- and English-language film stars Marcin Dorocinski as Kuklinski (code name: Jack Strong), a colonel who had played a significan­t role in the Warsaw Pact 1968 invasion of Czechoslov­akia.

Concerned that Moscow’s martial law plans and nuclear weapon strategies could ignite a firestorm between the Soviets and NATO, with Poland potentiall­y becoming another Hiroshima in the process, Kuklinski starts passing along strategic military informatio­n to CIA operations officer David Forden (Patrick Wilson).

Naturally, there’s a personal cost incurred with Kuklinski’s daring deeds, and as Poland’s counterint­elligence factions realize there’s a mole in their midst, filmmaker Pasikowski proceeds to turn the screws ever more tightly, with the resulting tension beginning to register on the face of the film’s tight-lipped protagonis­t.

With its solid performanc­es, nice attention to period detail and a foreboding rumble of a symphonic score by Jan Duszynski, “Jack Strong ” adds a unique Eastern Bloc POV to the enduring Cold War movie arsenal. “Jack Strong.” No MPAA rating. Running time: 2 hours, 8 minutes. Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood.

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