John LeCarre's spy thriller is brought to the big screen. A British spy is banished to Panama after having an affair with an ambassador's mistress. Once there he makes connection with a local tailor with a nefarious past and connections to all of the top political and gangster figures in Panama. The tailor also has a wife, who works for the Panamanian president and a huge debt. The mission is to learn what the President intends to do with the Panama Canal. But what the two do is concoct a tremendous fictional tale about former mercenaries who are ready to topple the current government and are willing to work with Britain and the US to do so. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
Pierce Brosnan is the second and to date the last actor to play James Bond to appear in a filmed adaptation of a John le Carré spy story. Sean Connery was the first in The Russia House. Connery did it after playing Bond whereas Brosnan did it during his era as Bond. This picture was made and released between his Bond movies The World Is Not Enough and Brosnan's last Bond film, Die Another Day. The Mi6 building seen in the film is the real Mi6 head-quarters in London and this use of the building was consistent with the Pierce Brosnan's Bond movies of the time which also used the real Mi6 HQ. See more »
When Andy's car gets stuck in thick black mud, he knocks Harry down. But when Harry arrives home, he has only a minor orange stain on one knee. See more »
Andrew 'Andy' Osnard:
Best I could do Andrew. Under the circumstances, given your sins. They were baying for blood.
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In the present Fahrenheit 9/11 atmosphere on re-watching this film I find much to admire not due to its incendiary political comment but from the skill of its making and its continued relevance which is the sign of a film which, I hope, will endure.
Ignoring the politics, for a moment, there is a lot to appreciate in Boorman's quick editing, interplay of farce and tragedy and ability to sum up a very complex story with telling detail. He draws stunning performances out of his actors (apart from the ever annoying Jamie Lee Curtis). Brosnan shifts character bewilderingly but by the end his roguish charm has been fully shed to reveal the horror of the man beneath, making Geoffrey Rush's exploitation believable and pathetic.
This ranks, along with the Killing Fields and Salvador (I'm sure I've forgotten many other worthy examples), as one of my favourite angry anti-war, anti-interventionism films arguing that where the justifying intelligence isn't good enough the rich and powerful states do not have the right to interfere, at least unless their motivations are purer than self interest. On the other hand, it is a great human drama with the country which serves as its backdrop used to great effect to emphasise the human tragedies played out within. Watch and enjoy, but you may find the first 10-15 minutes difficult until you have settled with the style - definitely worth a second watching.
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