The Little Drummer Girl 2018 / A steady, stylish period thriller that highlights the dangerous complications of war


The Little Drummer Girl starts slow, but it’s hard to peel your eyes away from the screen when it finally kicks into gear in the third episode. Every frame is packed with style, for one, and Le Carre’s espionage maze reliably thrills for another. Paired with Park Chan-wook’s eye for detail, as seen in modern classics like Oldboy and The Handmaiden, and with Pugh’s all-in performance, The Little Drummer Girl feels a bit more premium than the usual spy thrillers on TV. The elephant in the room, of course, is that this is all set against the backdrop of the Israel-Palestine conflict, manifested here in back-and-forth terrorist and assassination attempts. In this aspect, the series can be quite toothless, though it accurately highlights the hypocrisy of armchair activists like Charlie. “All right, I’m superficial, I get it!” she claims when pressed about her conflicting politics.

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