Geoffrey Rush is excellent as Harry, an Englishman with a sadly shady past who has re- invented himself in Panama as the best tailor in the country, making clothes for the rich and politically powerful. Into his world comes Osnard, played by Pierce Brosnan. A morally corrupt, self-serving MI6 spy, sent to Panama as a last chance after seducing a Euro diplomats wife. Many were bowled over by the irony of casting Brosnan, so associated with James Bond, as this much realer, creepier Bond alter ego. A man who is handsome, and self-confident, but whose endless seduction of women seems smarmy not sexy, and who delights in screwing other people while profiting himself. For me the casting was actually problematic. Brosnon's terrific, but the irony is so distractingly obvious, that it pulled me out of the story, and made me think too much about film and our hero images instead of simply accepting the character. Beyond that, Osnard is drawn a little too broadly for my taste. He's so transparent, I have a hard time he gets anyone to trust him even for a moment. If his inner self-serving pig were a bit better hidden, it might have given the audience more to unravel, and make other characters' willingness to do his bidding a bit easier to buy. The mix of tones also was a bit of a misfire for me. Never quite darkly funny enough to ascend into true satire, but certainly never edgy enough to be taken seriously, there's a lack of danger here. Unlike 'Dr. Strangelove', we never really think Harry and Osnard's games will reduce Panama to a pile of rubble, and the intimation of it seems false and a bit silly. Yet, all that complaining is because the movie is good enough, smart enough, brave enough and entertaining enough that I felt frustrated it didn't quite work as brilliantly as is should. But I'd certainly still recommend it, in spite of my long winded misgivings, and I'm also willing to give it another look.
Pierce Brosnan, Gregory Rush, and Jamie Lee Curtis star in "The Tailor of Panama," a 2001 film based on the novel by John LeCarre.Brosnan plays Andrew Osnard, a British secret agent who had an affair with an ambassador's mistress and is exiled to Panama. He's supposed to locate some of the few Brits who live in Panama who may have information through their contacts on anything going on that the British should be concerned about.Osnard finds a tailor, Harold Pendel, an ex-con who works as a tailor in the tradition of a Saville Row older tailor who was his mentor and teacher. He says. Harry knows a lot of people - in fact, he makes suits for the President. Harry has a family, a wife (Curtis) and two children and a massive debt. Since Osnard will pay for information, Harry makes it up as he goes along, telling him that Panama's infrastructure and the poor are in desperate need, so the President is selling the Panama Canal to the Chinese.Between the two of them, Osnard and Harry end up with a story about former mercenaries out to get rid of the current government. They will work with the U.S. and British for $20 million.The film is reminiscent of "Our Man in Havana" not only in story but in the new Alec Guinness, Geoffrey Rush, who is beyond fantastic as Harry, a man who gets caught up in lies that started so innocently, just so he could pay his debt.For the people who didn't like this film, I really think you have to be a fan of classic movies to truly appreciate its satire and comic bent. And, like a true comedy or satire, it has moments of drama and truth.Brosnan plays the absolute scoundrel and womanizing Osnard to perfection. He's James Bond with none of the gadgets or class, and he is totally unlikeable.Beautifully done, this is an intelligent script, very well acted and directed, about what people will believe, and why. I loved what "Uncle Benny" (Harold Pinter) tells Harry: "Harry boy...a man who tells the truth is bound to be found out sooner or later. Try sincerity, that's a virtue. But truth, it's an affliction!"
Andy Osnard (Pierce Brosnan) is being banished to the relatively minor backwaters of Panama by MI6. There are only 200 British residents in Panama and Andy picks the tailor Harry Pendel (Geoffrey Rush) as his contact to the highest levels. At the end of 1999, the Panama canal was handed back to Panama and intelligence is vital for its uncertain future. Harry's wife Louisa (Jamie Lee Curtis) works for the head of the Canal Commission Ernie Delgado. Harry is in terrible debt after buying a farm and he needs money by the end of the month. Harry has a checkered arsonist past which Andy uses as well as lots of money to get an insight into the corrupt and seedy politics. Mickie Abraxas (Brendan Gleeson) is a former Noriega opponent drunken loud-mouth angry nobody, but Harry spins him into a leader of the 'Silent Opposition'.Based on a John le Carré novel, this has a great deal in common with Graham Greene's 'Our Man in Havana'. It suffers from the comparison. The atmosphere in 50s Cuba is just so much more tense and more exotic than 2000 Panama. Graham Greene had the cold war. This movie can't even fall back on a Noriega. They have something much more pedestrian and common; corruption. The acting is solid. Pierce Brosnan is playing Bond without the action. Geoffrey Rush can definitely spin a tale. Brendan Gleeson feels very old school stereotype white man in Latin America. I'd rather have a latino actor. There is a generally fascinating little story. The point where the movie lost me is the Americans. The meeting at the Pentagon is cartoonish from another era. Instead of a poignant indictment, this one degenerates into a silly farce.
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