What’s the life of a spy? A person infiltrates a foreign land with feelings of patriotism and for the protection of its people. However, when things go haywire, it is their nation that deserts them first. That’s the life of a spy. In the Espionage film, The Operative, Israeli filmmaker Yuval Adler explores a similar plight but with a twist.
Yuval Adler examines the shallowness of a government and the depth of a nation’s greed. In the name of patriotism, they are ready to sacrifice their people and the lives of innocents. The film is based on the Hebrew novel The English Teacher plots a protagonist who struggles to live a real-life amidst her espionage mission. The Operative is the story of an operative who doesn’t want to be an operative anymore.
‘The Operative’ Plot Summary
Former Mossad intelligence agent Thomas (Martin Freeman) receives a mysterious call from a woman who informs him about her father’s death, again. Before Thomas can decipher the code, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency calls him to Tel Aviv (Israel). When Thomas refuses to travel, a former friend from the agency, Joe, requests him to visit a safe house in Cologne (City in Germany).
As Thomas reaches the safe house, the story unravels further. British Jew Thomas worked for the agency and handled a Mossad spy, Rachel (Diane Kruger). Suddenly she disappeared from the scene, and Thomas was expelled from the job.
Rachel connects with Thomas again and drops a pullout code from Iran. Thomas scrutinizes Rachel’s report filled with negative remarks. Soon, Joe joins him and interrogates him further. Through a series of flashbacks, Thomas narrates the story of the Israeli spy, Rachel, who went rogue.
Who was Rachel Currin?
According to Thomas, Rachel was a Jewish doing basic stuff in Leipzig (Germany), where Thomas met her and decided to recruit Rachel for an espionage mission in Tehran. Mossad, operating from Germany, wanted to hamper Iran’s nuclear development and its ability to create atomic weapons.
Thomas built her a new identity with an Australian passport. She spent a year establishing her fake identity and worked as an English and French Teacher. She soon obtained her work permit in Tehran, and her espionage mission started.
What was Rachel’s mission?
Rachel quickly gained Thomas and Mossad’s trust, and thus, they asked her to execute the next plan of action. Through Rachel, they approached Farhad Razavi, one of Iran’s prestigious electronic company owners, Razavi Electronics. Farhad’s firm did business with the Iranian government and thus had their trust. Mossad wanted to sell defective nuclear technology to Iran through Farhad.
Mossad operation, “Business as Usual,” indirectly groomed Razavi Electronics to become an unwitting middleman between Israel intelligence agency and the Iranian secret service, and an ambitious Farhad fell for their trap.
What went wrong?
Rachel developed feelings for Farhad. She even got pregnant with his child. However, the major transformation in her character occurred when she was forced to kill an innocent watchman to save her cover. Soon, Rachel decoded Mossad’s intention. She specifically mentioned to Thomas that Mossad was using foreigners for their espionage missions.
Like Rachel, Thomas, too, was a British Jew living in Germany, and both were working for a country that was not theirs. Rachel and Thomas were just pawns of a war that was not even theirs to fight in the first place. Thomas knew that Rachel was going to be compromised, but yet he trusted her. However, Rachel was yearning for everyday life, away from her secret identity. She wanted to start a life with Farhad, but her dreams felt unreasonable, tenuous, and impossible amid chaos.
Why did Rachel turn Rogue?
A fatal setback to Rachel’s integrity occurred when she was forced to deliver bombs to Iran. Later, she found out that those explosives were used to blow up Iran’s nuclear scientists and their families. In the tragedy, two innocent kids lost their lives, and Rachel blamed herself. She was on the verge of a breakdown, yet she played along.
Rachel brought Farhad to Leipzig, where he was arrested. Mossad’s agents under the German Flag charged Farhad to import nuclear items that violate the sanctions against Iran. They threatened Farhad and urged him to work for their operation “Business as Usual.” Farhad had no option but to comply with their demands.
Rachel disappeared from the scene after the agency discovered her pregnancy. Thomas was removed from the agency for helping Rachel conceal her pregnancy.
‘The Operative’ Ending Explained
In the current timeline, Mossad informed Thomas that Rachel was in Germany to meet Farhad, who now worked for them, under the false German Flag.
A wired Thomas paid a visit to Rachel. She informed him that she called him a day before because she knew Mossad would bring him into the mess. Rachel revealed that she had deposited all information about “Business as Usual” in a safebox in Switzerland. If anything happens to her, the information will be made public. She didn’t want anything else but her life back. Rachel wanted to move out and negotiate freedom for Farhad. However, Mossad didn’t want to bargain with a fugitive, and hence they sent their agents to kill off Rachel.
In the end, Thomas helped Rachel to run away from Mossad agents. While Thomas created a diversion, Rachel disappeared in a subway crowd. The intelligence agency failed to catch the Rogue Spy.
The Operative is a 2019 Espionage Thriller film written and directed by Israeli filmmaker Yuval Adler. It is based on the accounts written by a former intelligence officer, Yiftach Reicher-Atir, in his Hebrew novel The English Teacher.