THE SPY (Netflix): True Story of Mossad Agent Eli Cohen

THE SPY (Netflix) Review: True Story of 60s Mossad Agent Eli Cohen

Written and directed by Emmy-winner Israeli filmmaker Gideon Raff (Prisoners of War, Homeland, and Tyrant), the latest Netflix espionage thriller THE SPY is based on the real-life story of 60s Mossad agent, Eli Cohen – an Egyptian-born Arab Jew.

Cohen is considered one of the most widely known Israeli spies in modern world history, who was active in Syria during 1961-1965. As an undercover agent, he was assigned to get information out on any plan of attack by Syria. Within a very short time, he gets close to the political and military circles of Syria.

Although Cohen was captured and later executed in 1965 by the Syrian administration, his undercover job helped Israel leading up to the 1967 Arab–Israeli War, also known as the Six-Day War.

Here is a trailer of the Netflix spy drama THE SPY

THE SPY – Sacha Baron Cohen plays Eli Cohen

British actor Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat and Bruno comedian) plays the principal character with an amazing performance in a dramatic role. Being a real-life-inspired story, there was little for any of the actors to miss the thin line between cinematic drama and true story portrayal.

Written and directed by Gideon Raff with Max Perry as co-writer for the final three episodes, THE SPY is very nicely paced in a six-episode long miniseries. Share on X
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THE SPY opens with a disturbing scene when we see Eli Cohen is captured by the Syrian government and asked to write the final letter of his life. The story then takes us back to six years, when Eli with his loving wife was leading a quiet life, although he already had applied for a job in Israel’s intelligence service.

An intriguing and intense drama

The tension between Israel and the Syrian government was at its peak, while Israel was clueless about any Syrian offensive. A recent attack has pushed Israel to plant a spy there to extract any classified information and prepare for any future war. It was not at all easy, but the pressure was mounting on Mossad to act at the earliest.

It is the time when Mossad recruits Eli with his alias name Kamel Amin Thaabet, an Argentine-based Arab businessman. Raff’s THE SPY is one of those series where we know the eventualities yet the overall treatment and the interest to learn more about the life of a spy, makes us watch till the end.

Moreover, Sacha Baron playing Eli makes the narration intriguing, and even more knowing a few of his earlier comedic roles. Going by the predictable nature of the story, it was indeed tasking to make it intriguing. And this was both on the shoulders of the director and actors. This is where the series shines.

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THE SPY is worth watching. It is an intriguing and intense true story with great characterization, screenplay, and strong performances by its ensemble cast. You may catch it on Netflix and send your review in the comment section below.

Netflix has another spy drama THE ANGEL i.e. based on the life of Egyptian spy Ashraf Marwan. The film is based on Uri Bar-Joseph’s bestselling book The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel.

Where to watch The Spy (2019)
This post is written, edited and published by the Cinecelluloid staff.

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