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'Deutschland 83'
Nik Konietzny9/13

'Deutschland 83'

June 17th, 11 pm, Sundance
Germany's answer to The Americans — a Cold War thriller set amid the nuclear paranoia of 1983, the year of "99 Luftballons." Kudos to Sundance for importing this eight-part thriller, subtitles and all. Jonas Nay plays the young East German spy who infiltrates the army on the other side of the Berlin Wall. Deutschland 83 captures the mood of a divided city, with two overheated empires eyeball to eyeball. The nuclear stakes couldn't be higher — in the opening scene, a TV plays an actual Ronald Reagan speech where he's chillingly cheerful about the idea of winning a nuclear war against the Evil Empire. ("Let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness" — damn.) It sets the scene right down to the synth-pop on the radio. It's not the first TV thriller to use Peter Schilling's "Major Tom (Coming Home)" (who could forget Gale's karaoke video on Breaking Bad?), but Deutschland 83 really reminds you what a morbid song it is — a sarcastic kiss-off to a self-destructing planet.

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