Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
New York Times:
A refreshing reminder in the age of the Bourne movies that spies are real people leading everyday lives.
Director Christian Carion establishes a low-key yet threatening atmosphere right from the start, and gets terrific performances from Kusturica and Canet.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
Ward plays Reagan as not just engaged but swaggering and overexcitable -- a fun revisionist performance. But this is Kusturica's movie.
Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Kusturica, whose own best directing days may be behind him, nevertheless gives a terrific portrayal of a man living inside his head and his history...
The film, based on a true story, is an uneasy mix of generic spy thriller and tensions-at-home family drama, but it's definitely entertaining...
As a character study, Farewell is rich enough to mitigate some of its ineffectiveness as suspense.
J. R. Jones,
Carion might have found a more artful way to dramatize the case's geopolitical impact, but this is still pretty interesting stuff.
An ideal corrective to the usual overblown espionage fantasies, and one that works very well on its own stealthy terms.
Dallas Morning News:
This cool, understated French thriller might just become one of the best film-based excuses to escape the swelter of summer.
[A] smart, low-key, melancholy dramatization based on a little-known real moment in espionage, circa 1981...
Los Angeles Times:
For the majority of its leisurely running time, Christian Caron's twisty thriller sports a smart sophistication along with an amazing story that's all the more remarkable for its relative anonymity in history books.
The movie earns its tension and suspense the old-fashioned way: By making you care about its characters, who live in a recognizably real world...
The movie is stunningly intelligent; the concluding passages, in which the game abruptly ends for both men, are frightening and, finally, very moving.
New York Post:
Starts slowly but picks up steam as it goes along. The final half-hour is suspenseful to the max.
A smart and suspenseful thriller, but one that's grounded in the reality of the world we all live in -- whether we're spies or engineers.
That's another thing about Carion's direction: He has an eye for unusual, atmospheric touches -- the kinds of striking little things you notice in the world and think: "Somebody should put that in a movie."
San Francisco Chronicle:
More than most espionage movies, the film is about relationships, the men with each other, the men with their own disapproving wives, and governments with each other.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
In the high-noon finale, the personal and the political have an effectively tense showdown, with the double-crosses and getaways we expect from a good espionage flick.
A homely bit of international Cold War cloak-and-dagger, starring badly dressed bureaucrats instead of chic spies.
There's a reason nobody made a movie about the 1983 bust of Soviet spies with the code name "Farewell" until now: It's too bloody complicated.