A medium shot of a young man sat on a bed, hunched over a laptop, looking pensive. He’s dressed in black trousers and white t-shirt, which, when situated against the white, minimalist interior of the upscale hotel room he inhabits, lends a cool, almost clinical feel. We watch as he types, but not what he types. Shots such as this comprise a significant proportion of the film’s running time, intercut with footage from press conferences, government hearings, newsrooms and other pertinent locales. Within the room, the most dramatic physical event is the unanticipated testing of the hotel’s fire alarm. We watch him closely as he reacts. Successive bursts of the alarm tax his composure and raise concern. Not concern that there’s actually a fire, but instead a ruse to induce his exit. In this respect it is a false alarm – it appears, after all, just a routine test. Remotely, figuratively at least, alarm bells are ringing, as the dramatic chain of events precipitated by the young man starts to play out. This filters back in real time, as the hotel room TV emits snippets of a news reporter describing the story as ‘straight out of a John le Carré novel’. But, emblematic of the film’s measured, dispassionate tone and formal style, we hear these words as we watch our putative ‘Alec Leamas’ trying prosaically to tame his hair in the bathroom mirror, as if merely smartening up for a date or a job interview.