AVClub: I was so relieved when East German spy Martin Rauch bumps into the general’s son going to lunch on his first day, keeping him from completing his mission already. Things are beautifully set up for him to photograph whatever’s in the American general’s briefcase, but if he does his job too well, they’ll just ask more of him. It’s better for him to be inefficient. But he just can’t keep himself from his girlfriend back home any longer than necessary, and that seals his fate. He manages to get away from lunch a little before the generals return. The premise is enough to get the heart racing, and Deutschland 83 treats the sequence like a bad horror movie where Martin drops the knife and goes in the basement and you just know the killer’s already waiting for him. He can’t pick the lock on the door, so he picks the lock on the secretary’s desk to get the keys. Every added step only makes it more likely he won’t finish in time. Then he reads over documents instead of quickly photographing them. And when he finishes, narrowly escaping the generals, he’s left in a state of turmoil watching the secretary, who seems to notice something’s awry. She sits there staring at her typewriter, and the camera slowly pushes in on her for her big moment, and at last she begins going about her work duties like nothing’s the matter, and we cut away, finally able to exhale. Like a lot of Deutschland 83, it’s a blunt scene, clumsily pushing our buttons, but it gets the job done.