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>
Source author John le Carré included 'The Tailor of Panama' as one of his four best novels during an interview on 5 October 2008 on BBC Four. The other best works he selected were 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy', 'The Constant Gardener' and 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold'. See more »
Savile Row, a street famous for its tailoring establishments in central London and mentioned many times in the film, is misspelled "Saville" on the computer screen that Osnard scans on the flight. 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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An atmospheric, well-crafted thriller with actors having an infectiously good time.
The Tailor of Panama is an atmospheric, well-crafted thriller in which the actors have an infectiously good time with their characters, especially an excellent and hilarious Pierce Brosnan as Andy Osnard, a roguish British spy who is sent to Panama (superbly described as "Casablanca without heroes") to keep out of trouble and get back his government's trust. However, even in post-Cold War diplomacy you have to play the game and earn your wage. The diplomats still have to listen to their sources. Osnard selects British ex-pat tailor Harry Pendel (Geoffrey Rush) to be his information source, using Pendel's hidden past to get his cooperation. Pendel is well-placed as his wife works for the director of the Panama Canal Company, but he also has friends formerly in the anti-Noriega ranks. Osnard passes on what Pendel tells him to his superiors. These two characters start to spin a web of exciting misinformation that they start to revel in, but this has consequences which escalate beyond their control. The background of Panama, from its "laundromats" (banks) to its seedy nightclubs, suits the characters and the story perfectly, and gives the film an atmospheric richness of the type director Boorman excels in. It is a treat for those who love international political intrigue and who may have traveled or lived in such places. This is a thriller which relies not on hi-tech filmmaking gimmicks (and there are many opportunities to), but on characters interesting enough to follow all the way through the film. It has an old-fashioned feel, and an wry and mischievous humor. Some may see some implausibility in the final conseuences of Osnard's and Pendel's actions, but on the whole the shamless good time they have bring these (almost) anti-heroes to life is infectious. Great fun.
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