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The Tailor of Panama

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 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 Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Pierce Brosnan may play a British spy but he's no 007 in John Boorman's stylish adaptation of John Le Carre's 1996 post-Cold War thriller. Instead, Brosnan plays a sleazy, disreputable and disgraced M16 agent who's been sent to Panama City. "It's 'Casablanca' without heroes," he's told. His job is to check on drug trafficking and money laundering. Armed with bribes and a bit of blackmail, he coaxes debt-ridden Geoffrey Rush to pass along information about his wealthy customers at the elite Braithwaite & Pendel custom-tailors. ("That was Mr. Connery's choice," Rush murmurs about a fabric - wink, wink!) Plus, Rush is married to Jamie Lee Curtis, an American who works as assistant to the Panamanian director of the Canal. (Their son is Daniel Radcliffe, the future Harry Potter, and their daughter is the director's child Lola Boorman.) So when there's no gossip, Rush invents tantalizing if dubious tidbits, like selling the Canal, perhaps to China, which immediately ignites a political drama. Writer Andrew Davis collaborated with Le Carre and Boorman on the amusingly sophisticated screenplay which evokes memories of Graham Greene's "Our Man in Havana" and "The Quiet American" with ironic touches of wit and whimsy, like having Brosnan chat with Rush as they dance in a gay bar to Irving Berlin's "Let's Face the Music and Dance." There's a superb supporting cast: Harold Pinter as Rush's deceased mentor and conscience, Brendan Gleeson as an alcoholic revolutionary, Catherine McCormack as a sultry embassy attache, and John Fortune as the Ambassador. And Philippe Rousselot's cinematography captures Panama's skyscrapers and squalor. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Tailor of Panama" is a caustic, clever 8. It's a tantalizing romp of international intrigue.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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