Between Bond movies The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day, busy Pierce Brosnan managed to fit in two other projects. One of them was this adaptation of a John Le Carre story about a downmarket spy (Brosnan) in Central America who uses a sweatily nervous tailor (the unimpeachable Geoffrey Rush) to gain access to the local generals, his object: to sell them all manner of dodgy information designed to destabilise the country. It may say Le Carre on the tin but there’s the definite feeling we’re in Graham Greene country here, the atmopshere of mosquito netting, insanitary plumbing and lousy tea all being typical Greene touches. Adding suitably weird supporting performances are Harold Pinter as Rush’s dear old Jewish dad and Brendan Gleason as a Panamanian freedom fighter. These are both somewhat left-field bits of casting but they’re typical of the nutty casualness that pervades the whole film. Look at Jamie Lee Curtis – dragged in as love interest and then almost dismissively underused. Not to mention Brosnan, who is pretty much going at it like OO3.5. It’s all about deception, of course, and director John Boorman lays on the deliberate double-bluffs, intrigueful atmosphere and even conversations with dead people to confuse the viewer into not knowing what’s what, in an attempt to give us some idea of what Brosnan is doing to the generalissimos. Definitely one for people who enjoy being toyed with. And yes, it was shot in Panama.
The Tailor of Panama – at Amazon
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© Steve Morrissey 2013