The year is 1908; after centuries of unchecked power, the Ottoman empire is rapidly crumbling. As a result, Turkey's secret agents--those that haven't already been eliminated by downsizing or death--operate in a vacuum, their superiors knowing little and caring less about their activities. One such spy is Ben Kingsley, a minor bureaucrat of no ambition. When ordered to help disreputable English citizens Charles Dance and Helen Mirren in the theft of a precious Greek artifact, Kingsley goes along without question. He is even prepared to follow orders and double-cross Dance the moment the robbery is pulled off. But as the film progresses, Kingsley becomes less and less of a by-the-book government functionary and more and more of an enigma--to Dance, to Mirren, to his country, to himself. More than your usual "caper" film, Pascali's Island has more layers than an artichoke.
by Hal Erickson synopsis