While it may be another addition to the slew of World War II movies, A Call To Spy stands out on many counts. It’s peak wartime and when times get desperate, Churchill orders the intelligence agency to recruit women as spies. The story revolves around three strong and courageous women. Among them is Vera Atkins (Stana Katic), an intelligence officer, who recruits and trains women spies to send them to France. Most of her male colleagues do not trust her, mostly because she was born a Jew. However, her senior officer recognizes her intelligence and her aptitude for identifying spies for British intelligence.
Atkins recruits an American woman with a prosthetic leg named Virginia Hall (“the name of her other leg is unknown“) played by Sarah Megan Thomas, and a Sufi pacifist born to an Indian father and an American mother, Noor Inayat Khan (Radhika Apte).
The tension is thick and palpable
Especially since this is based on real events and people, the film draws you with its gritty and real portrayal of the lead characters. A real spy story without the fancy gadgets and layered deception look exactly like this. These women, be it on the field or off it, are battling dangerous challenges and conflicting emotions, as they cannot really know who is waiting to betray them. I was at the edge of my seat in anticipation of what their fates hold, won’t lie. It’s incredibly courageous to answer a calling to be a spy, no doubt.
The characters are the real MVPs
Atkins’ resolve to end antisemitism in Germany is sadly ironic as she is subjected to bigotry in her own country. She is discriminated against for being a woman and a Jew. Radhika Apte’s Noor Inayat Khan is as endearing as she is admirable, what with her idealistic approach to peace and her mighty resilience. It’s Virginia Hall who makes you go weak in the knees. She is a smart problem solver and proves to be an excellent leader to the members of the Resistance. It’s so heartening to see women of substance celebrated in movies. Their loyalty and their sense of duty towards each other is just marvelous.
A Call To Spy could’ve had a tighter narrative
The film does not hold back with the storytelling and delves deep into the events as well as the people in the story. As a result, with run-time a little over 2 hours, A Call To Spy may seem a tad tedious in parts. The film squanders with a few melodramatic moments strewn about randomly but it doesn’t take away a lot and it’s still a good watch.
WATCH OR NOT:
A Call To Spy plays with your mind to create an exciting tension while telling an excellent story. This story is of real-life spies Virginia Hall, Noor Inayat Khan, and Vera Atkins. Google them and you’d know why this story needs to be watched.
Director: Lydia Dean Pilcher
Writer: Sarah Megan Thomas
Cast: Sarah Megan Thomas, Stana Katic, Radhika Apte
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video