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 <email@example.com>
In the course of six weeks' shooting, John Boorman's production would put scenic Panama on the map. Permission was sought, and ultimately granted, to film in some rarely seen places in Panama. See more »
Harry the tailor mispronounces a common term of his trade, "worsted". He pronounces it phonetically, but at least in British English it is correctly pronounced "woosted" with the "oo" as in "good". 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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There are no heroes or villains in "The Tailor of Panama," only exploiters and victims. Some may be turned off by the cynical tone of the film. For example, Andy Osnard, the British secret agent, played by Pierce Brosnan (who else?) is a scheming sociopath, not a patriotic hero. The title character, Harry Pendel, played by Geoffrey Rush, is a liar and an ex-convict. Don't be put off by these flawed characters, though. In the great tradition of John LeCarre's characters, these devious, selfish people are endlessly interesting -- and believable. I suspect that those who did not like this film reacted as they did because of a lack of heroes and because the outcome of the machinations it depicts are sadly grotesque. Nevertheless, this is the thinking person's spy movie. Highly recommended, 8 out of 10.
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