Director Shamim Sarif's "Despite the Falling Snow" begins with promise, featuring the titular precipitation with an almost jaw-dropping beauty. Rebecca Ferguson appears on screen in the Cold War romantic spy drama clad in lush period costume. Unfortunately, the strong cinematography from David Johnson and costume design by Momirka Bailovic can't overcome a lifeless, poorly structured script from Sarif, based on her own well received novel.
"Despite the Falling Snow" jumps between the years 1959-1961 and 1991, moving from Moscow to New York and back again. In one of a number of bad directorial choices, Ferguson inexplicably appears as both the heroine, spy Katya, and her niece, Lauren. In Moscow in 1959, Katya pursues rising Soviet politician Alexander (Sam Reid) at the encouragement of their friend Misha (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) so that she can share his secrets with the Americans.
However, she soon falls in love with him, complicating her mission. Fast-forward to New York in 1991, and an older Alexander (Charles Dance) laments his wife's disappearance 30 years earlier, while Lauren tries to discover what happened to her aunt.
Though the film is filled with Russian characters, everyone speaks with a British accent. It serves largely as a distraction, but even a decision this odd can't animate a movie this dull and inert. "Despite the Falling Snow" is ostensibly a love story set against a Cold War thriller backdrop, but it features no heat and little tension.
'Despite the Falling Snow'
Rating: PG-13, for some sexuality and violence
Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena