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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

The Bureau

Sundance Now / Online / Film & TV

The loudly bravoed French espionage thriller The Bureau (Le Bureau des Légendes) resembles a John le Carré epic unfolding with urgent dispatch—a dense weave of tradecraft, covert ops, institutional infighting, wary alliances, and sudden irruptions that always remains taut and suspenseful, defying expectations at every turn. Primarily the tale of two spies—Mathieu Kassovitz’s Guillaume Debailly, code name “Malotru,” a wrung-dry veteran who returns to Paris after six years undercover in Syria; and Sara Giraudeau’s Marina Loiseau, code name “Phénomène,” a pixie-haired novice whose first mission places her in Tehran, where she must do her best to appear innocuous—The Bureau is equally adept with the subtle intricacies of constructing a false identity and the topographical challenges of mounting a desert hostage-rescue operation in ISIS territory. Never mind the next James Bond movie, this is the real goods. —James Wolcott

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