Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When Life Imitates Art: Little Nikita for the 2010s?

Before young female adherents to western popular culture swooned over Robert Pattinson, before their predecessors were swept away by Leonardo DiCarprio in Titanic, there was River Phoenix. Nobody seems to remember River Phoenix these days. After all,  he was the super-talented older brother of Joachim Phoenix and was phenomenal in the film Stand by Me. Sadly, River died from an accidental (?) drug-overdose in 1993 at the age of 23.

Anyway, back to my original point. In the dying days of The Cold War, River Phoenix starred in a blockbuster film called Little Nikita which also starred the quintessential  veteran actor  Sidney Poitier. The tag-line for the movie was "He went to bed an all-American kid and woke up the son of Russian spies."

Super quick plot summary: River Phoenix plays an all-American regular teenager  named Jeff Grant. Young Jeff has no clue that his all-American suburban parents are actually Russian "sleeper" spies! Definition of "Sleepers": spies who have assimilated into a society under deep-cover awaiting orders from their country of origin. 
Back in the day, this film seemed riveting and exciting. Of course in this post-Cold War era, I'm sure it would induce snooze in young teens everywhere. However, just like life imitating art, US authorities have revealed they have  uncovered real "Russian" sleeper cells all over the US!

According the breaking news, 10 people have been arrested  accused of "conspiracy to act as unlawful agents of a foreign government". From intercepted messages, it seems these sleeper spies were tasked to find out information on topics including "nuclear weapons, US arms control positions, Iran, White House rumours, CIA leadership turnover, and political parties."  Apparently they were not really doing a great job on their assignments either!

So it appears that just for a brief moment we have been transported back to the '80s when the Cold War was raging between the East and the West. To the days when Russia was still the USSR, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia as well as East Germany still existed and the late great actor River Phoenix was Hollywood's brightest star with great future promise. Speaking of the '80s, where's Michael Dudikoff


Mike said...

oh the 80's.
We had our share of that spy drama too.
I wonder where the "de-Ghanianized" CIA operatives are now.

Abena Serwaa said...

@Mike interesting point! I didn't even consider the fact that similar operatives were lurking around these parts in the '80s! With espionage its pretty much the more you know the less you can sleep at night!

Nikita Chinery said...

Salt just came out and has the same theme as Little Nikita as well! Now I'm going to watch Little Nikita and see how they compare.

Abena Serwaa said...

@Nikita Interesting... I had no idea that Salt had a similar them! Saw snippets of it on some film review programme. Now I definitely have to see it!