Based on Uri Bar-Joseph’s biography of Ashraf Marwan, The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel, this is a reasonably faithful account of the double-agent son-in-law of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, who helped avert a deadly escalation of the Yom Kippur War by passing secrets to Mossad.
Directed by Israeli Ariel Vromen (whose American-set thrillers include The Iceman and Criminal), it builds commendable tension as clubbable but shifty family man Marwan (Dutch actor Marwan Kenzari) insinuates himself into the inner circle of Egyptian politics, gaining the trust of Anwar Sadat (Sasson Gabay) when he replaces Nasser in 1970.
The action is essentially built around meetings and phone calls – in offices, bars and, in one fateful instance, a car park – but The Angel moves into more conventional political thriller territory when terrorists target a passenger jet and as the countdown to invasion begins.
It’s intricately plotted, seriously acted (Yorkshireman Toby Kebbell is convincing as Marwan’s Israeli handler) and serves as a brief history lesson that’s stranger than fiction.
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