The Tailor of Panama (2001)

Genres - Comedy Drama, Spy Film  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy, Satire, Political Satire, Spy Comedy  |   Release Date - Mar 30, 2001 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , Ireland , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Nick Sambides, Jr.

Based on John Le Carré's book The Tailor of Panama, this is a very fine and altogether rare movie -- a satire too realistic to play for belly laughs and too giddily self-aware and subversive to make a routine spy thriller. It also benefits mightily from some very sharp work by Pierce Brosnan and the presence of Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush. Spying, as co-screenwriter Le Carré has observed, is a squalid business, and it's a credit to director and co-writer John Boorman that so much of Panama's seediness (drug dealers, corrupt bankers, and bought politicos) fits onscreen. Known for serious movies like Deliverance and Hope and Glory, Boorman gives the movie a sweaty, gleeful, sexual edge and pays proper homage to sources like The Man in the White Suit and Our Man in Havana. Another surprise is Brosnan, who ferociously plays British spy Andrew Osnard as a Bond turned inside out, bankrupt of idealism and discipline, all libido and unerring instinct for vulnerability. It's a ferocious performance that shows just how far from 007 Brosnan can go. And Rush makes his character Harry Pendel a jittery collection of contradictions. Credit him for stitching into the character so many threads of weakness, decency, love, courage, mendacity, sweet naivete, and sad cynicism without once rending him.