The Tailor of Panama

Although The Tailor of Panama is in no way a parody of James Bond, the addition of Pierce Brosnan unintentionally makes it so. This is an adaptation of the 1996 book by John le Carre about a lecherous disgraced spy exiled in Panama. Andy Osnard's (Brosnan, The World is Not Enough, The Thomas Crown Affair) love of women is the main reason for his punishment. Is this the future of James Bond? Movie-wise, absolutely not. Realistically, it is much more of a possibility. Anyway, Osnard believes that he can find something big that will redeem him. After all, corruption left over from General Noriega undoubtedly still exists, and the United States recently ceded the Panama Canal back to Panama. He finds everything he wants in local tailor Harry Pendel (Geoffrey Rush, Quills, Mystery Men).

Pendel has debts. He owes the bank money, and is too much of a gentleman to ask his clients to pay for their suits. Osnard offers Pendel money for any covert information, and Pendel cannot resist. He also likes the sound of his own voice, and finds himself making up stories about his friends and coworkers. He tells Osnard about a group called the Silent Opposition. Both the Americans and the British have no prior knowledge about this group because, well, they are silent. Osnard relays his information back to the embassy and keeps coming to Pendel with more. Pendel eventually dreams up a scenario where the Panamanian government sells the Canal to a coalition between China and Taiwan. Complicating matters is Harry's wife Louisa (Jamie Lee Curtis, Fierce Creatures, Halloween: H2O), who works for the people running the Canal. She does not know that Harry owes money, and does not know that he is talking to Osnard. She believes he is having an affair.

Things move quickly in the adaptation by Andrew Davies (Bridget Jones's Diary , Circle of Friends) and director John Boorman (The General, Lumiere and Company). Pendel and Osnard form a vicious circle, feeding off each other and making things worse. Each additional story by Pendel is more absurd and generates more attention from the British. Osnard is not a good spy. He concerns himself more with seducing his coworker Francesca (Catherine McCormack, Shadow of the Vampire, The Debtors). He is so set on finding a way out of Panama that he is blind to the fact that Pendel is lying. Rush is obviously enjoying himself. His character has small pangs of guilt, but he gets over them quickly. The Tailor of Panama loses some of its lighthearted luster when things become serious at the end. Boorman does not quite achieve the balance of the comedy and seriousness.

Haro Rates It: Not Bad.
2 hours, 7 minutes, Rated R for strong sexuality, language, and some violence.

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