1953. Desmond Doyle is devastated when his wife abandons their family on the day after Christmas. His unemployment and the fact that there is no woman in the house to care for the children,... See full summary »
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 criminal past and connections to all of the top political and gangster figures in Panama. The tailor also has a wife, who works for the canal administrator, and a huge debt. The spy's mission is to learn what the President intends to do with the Panama Canal, but he's really in business for himself, blackmailing the tailor into spinning a fantastic tale about the canal being sold to China and former mercenaries ready to topple the current government. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director John Boorman is a consummate filmmaker according to the movie's production notes. "I like the variety of the process," he said. "Writing is solitary, directing is public and producing is about holding it all together. Best of all I like the collaboration, the intensity of the relationships with actors and crew. I'm often asked if there isn't a conflict, doing all these jobs. As the director I often curse the writer, while the director often falls out with the producer. As I'm all three, I am usually at war with myself." See more »
In the high level intelligence briefing scene, the ribbons on General Dusenbaker's (Dylan Baker) uniform are displayed incorrectly. 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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