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George Roy Hill
Diane Keaton, Yorgo Voyagis, Klaus Kinski
Writing Credits:
Loring Mandel

Israeli intelligence agency Mossad recruits an American actress to trap a Palestinian bomber.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 130 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 3/26/2024

• Trailer


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The Little Drummer Girl [Blu-Ray] (1984)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 10, 2024)

Oscar-winning director George Roy Hill’s career ended in an improbable way via 1988’s lackluster Chevy Chase comedy Funny Farm. 1984’s The Little Drummer Girl acted as his penultimate project and offered a more serious tale.

A Palestinian terrorist known only as “Khalil” (Sami Frey) orchestrates the murder of important Israelis. Israeli intelligence agency Mossad seeks to neutralize this threat.

They recruit an unlikely ally: Charlie (Diane Keaton), an American actress working in London. Mossad sends her undercover with the Palestinian terrorist organization, an endeavor that comes with ample risk for her.

Taken from a 1983 John le Carré novel, Drummer comes with obvious relevance in the world circa 2024. Unfortunately, that acts as an evergreen concept, as it seems impossible for these factions to fashion lasting peace.

Given the subject matter, Drummer should deliver a taut thriller. Unfortunately, it fails to live up to expectations.

The basic problem comes from a lack of momentum and clarity. The story meanders in ways that make it less than comprehensible too much of the time.

Which seems perplexing, as the basic tale feels uncomplicated. At its core, we should follow Charlie’s journey and the challenges she encounters.

Instead, Drummer tosses out various plot complications along the way. We find a pointless romance with operative Joseph (Yorgo Voyagis) and a basic narrative that rambles to the point of incoherence.

This results in a surprising lack of tension. The story becomes so muddled that nothing ever boils and involves the viewer.

Instead, most of Drummer feels like overwrought melodrama. While the movie desperately attempts to connect, it never gets there.

It doesn’t help that Keaton overacts relentlessly and creates a persistently annoying and unsympathetic lead. Perhaps Keaton overdoes the role in an attempt to salvage this mess, but she flops.

Indeed, Keaton makes a flawed movie even worse. Perhaps some of the issues stem from the source novel, but whatever the case, Drummer winds up as a meandering and dull stab at a thriller.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus D-

The Little Drummer Girl appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though it showed its vintage, the image largely satisfied.

Sharpness was usually good. A little softness affected wider shots, but any lack of definition seemed typical for films of this one’s era. Overall clarity appeared solid.

I saw no jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to cause issues, and grain felt light but appropriate.

With a fairly natural palette, the colors of Drummer worked pretty well. Though they occasionally showed some “80s murkiness”, I thought the hues generally came across as full and concise.

Blacks were mostly dark and firm, and low-light shots offered reasonable clarity. No one will view this as a demo film, but given the era in which it was made, the end result felt positive.

Similar feelings greeted the decent DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of Drummer. Audio quality seemed dated but fine, with speech that appeared reasonably natural and concise, with minimal edginess.

Music presented more than adequate range and depth, and effects showed good clarity and accuracy. As with the picture, nothing here excelled, but the soundtrack held up well enough.

The Blu-ray includes the movie’s trailer and no other extras.

Adapted from a John le Carré novel, The Little Drummer Girl boasts a plot with enormous dramatic potential. Unfortunately, the end product seems both meandering and overbaked. The Blu-ray comes with perfectly positive picture and audio but it lacks bonus features. Not much about this film works.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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