Piercing the Silent Opposition
The Tailor of Panama
Review by Ross Anthony

The film starts slowly, sleepily slowly, but builds well. Like Ravel's "Bolero," the first pages play so faintly you might think the film hasn't yet begun, but by the middle, the canal's waters are flowing so well that the current will take you rapidly to the climax.

As an alternative punishment for his snaky behavior, Brosnan is sent to Panama in hopes of finding an assignment potentially less embarrassing to the British government. Some mundanely simple task that even a scheming womanizer like Brosnan couldn't screw up, for instance, keeping tabs on the canal and who's running it since the Yanks handed it back to Panama.

Effortlessly bored, Brosnan slithers into Rush's suit shop in search of an unbiased insider with a good ear, loose tongue and empty pockets. Threatened with publication of his own imperfect passed, Rush tailors a story for which any slippery intelligence officer would be happy to grease palms.

This is not the action-thriller Bond fans might expect. Instead, Panama rolls like a filmed stage-play. Dialogue (sometimes enjoying it's own cleverness a bit too much) and character relationships spin this yarn. Nod, nod, wink, wink.

Sex and sexier, Brosnan has little patience for flirting, "There are two ways we can do this. We can wait till the six months have passed and then fall into each other with farewell passion, or we can begin an all out affair right now."

I enjoyed the ever-increasing line of tension and complexity so evenly sewn through careful direction; however, the production should have begun with a stronger initial pace. The first twenty minutes are as slumberous as the last are captivating. The story, keen and interesting, whirls well, building nicely to an ending not easily predicted. While leaving its audience entertained, this climax lacks a moving emotional component.

Fair performances by all involved.

  • The Tailor of Panama. Copyright © 2001. Rated R.
  • Starring Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush, Jamie Lee Curtis, Brendan Gleeson, Xatheine McCormack, Leonor Varela, Martin Ferrero, David Hayman, Jon Polito.
  • Directed by John Boorman.
  • Screenplay by Andrew Davies, John le Carre, John Boorman. Based upon the novel by John le Carre.
  • Produced by John Boorman at Merlin/Columbia.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

chili4 special olympians
power5 ra hforh radiop

Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:51:40 PDT