The Tailor Of Panama


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Tailor Of Panama
"A movie with this kind of pedigree should not be a mess. And yet it is. Horribly so."

A movie with this kind of pedigree should not be a mess. And yet it is. Horribly so.

Based on a John Le Carre novel, it borrows Graham Greene's idea from Our Man In Havana. John Boorman, still riding high on the reputation of his early work in America (Point Blank, Deliverance), directs like a tourist without a map.

Copy picture

Pierce Brosnan is a MI6 agent not called James, which is odd casting considering the strength of the Bond brand and how it markets a style to the point of parody.

The tailor in question is Harry Pendel, played by Geoffrey (Shine) Rush, with his usual foppish exaggeration. Late of Savile Row, he has been making suits for the great and the bad in Panama for years.

Andy Osnard (Brosnan) is sent there to investigate rumours that the post-Noriega government has plans to sell the canal to a foreign power. Unlike the Teflon coated 007, Osnard only assumes the guise of a suave international spy for the purpose of seducing emotionally repressed ice queens and impressing gossip-mongers like Pendel to work for him. In fact, he's an unscrupulous operator, who only thinks of Number One.

The state of Pendel's marriage, the interjections of dead Uncle Benny (Harold Pinter), the reinvention of an alcoholic freedom fighter (Brendan Gleeson) as the half credible leader of a secret opposition, the idiocy of a gullible M figure (David Hayman) and the stereotypical ass of a British ambassador (John Fortune) contribute to this convoluted muddle.

Is it a farce, or a thriller? Is Brosnan being clever, playing a man pretending to be James Bond, and why waste the wonderful Catherine McCormack as bedroom fodder? Is the tailor an agent, a double agent, an innocent or a fantasist?

Frankly, my dear...

Reviewed on: 19 Apr 2001
Share this with others on...
The Tailor Of Panama packshot
A spy with an eye for the girls and the main chance colludes with a tailor to invent an insurrection.
Amazon link

Director: John Boorman

Writer: Andrew Davies, John Le Carre, John Boorman, based on the novel by John Le Carre

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush, Jamie Lee Curtis, Brendan Gleeson, Catherine McCormack, Leonor Varela

Year: 2001

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Search database:

If you like this, try:

Our Man In Havana