Protocol [1984]

Frederick Forsyth wrote the novel and screenplay for this story about a plot to stage an enormous nuclear accident in England, a catastrophe so large that its source can never be identified but will lead to assumptions that America is behind it. Michael Caine plays an aging intelligence agent who picks up clues that the ingredients for such an apocalypse are being smuggled piece-by-piece into the U.K.--but he cannot seem to get his superiors to care. Caine is outstanding in a role that seems tailor-made for him, and Pierce Brosnan is very good as the Russian agent working undercover in England to effect the planned tragedy. The film perfectly captures a spreading suspicion and resentment toward superpower adventurism, even though such sentiments are, in fact, being exploited by the bad guys. Caine, as always, suggests a man walking a narrow line through a gauntlet of moral compromises. --Tom Keogh

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