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The Tailor of Panama

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: The Tailor of Panama

Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Pierce Brosnan
Director: John Boorman
Rated: R
RunTime: 109 Minutes
Release Date: March 2001
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Suspense


*Also starring: David Hayman, Jamie Lee Curtis, Brendan Gleeson, Harold Pinter, Leonor Varela, Catherine McCormack, Jon Polito, Harry Ditson



Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

What's a spy to do if he can't even land a decent assignment?

THE TAILOR OF PANAMA, based on a John Le Carré novel, is directed in a laidback fashion by John Boorman (THE GENERAL). Not exactly a spy story or a comedy, although it has aspects of both, the movie is basically a character study. Although the acting by the leads, Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush and Jamie Lee Curtis, is consistently dead-on, it isn't until the last act that the story finally comes together.

After some dalliance in Madrid, MI6 operative Andy Osnard (Brosnan) is relegated to the backwater assignment of a post-Noriega Panama. Deciding that there must be some major international incident afoot if he can just find the right source, Andy turns to a tailor, Harry Pendel (Rush), since he figures that everyone confides in their tailor. Moreover, since Andy knows that Harry has a secret criminal past, he uses that to blackmail him. Rush, who has a tendency to overachieve with his acting, is decidedly reserved this time. Harry, wanting to please and scared to do otherwise, manufactures some political intrigue for Andy.

Brosnan, famous for his 007 role, plays Andy as the anti-Bond. Although Andy, like Bond, sleeps with as many women as possible and speaks fluent double entendre, he is as slimy and oily as Bond is slick and debonair. It is a wonderful against type performance by Brosnan and the best argument for seeing the movie.

In a smaller but equally important part, Jamie Lee Curtis plays Harry's loyal and loving wife. With a quiet intensity, Curtis manages to dominate scenes that others should own. And in an age in which actors have no problem with massive violence but carefully write no-nudity clauses into their contracts, Curtis has a good body and is more than happy to flaunt it. She has some simple but erotically charged scenes with Brosnan. The best of these has her breast literally falling out of her low-cut dress. This incident has more genuine sexuality than a dozen canonical scenes of humping actors on squeaking bed frames.

THE TAILOR OF PANAMA is a small movie that ages well. The more you think about it; the more you appreciate its subtle charms.

THE TAILOR OF PANAMA runs 1:49. It is rated R for strong sexuality, language and some violence and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes

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