Tailormade for a dekho
Making a mountain of a molehill after stirring a storm in a teacup would aptly sum The Tailor Of Panama.
Even though it's all much ado over nothing, the film, based on John Le Carre's 1996 bestseller by the same name, still merits a dekho.
Pierce Brosnan, donning the 007-like mantle yet again, this time as Andy Osnard, a British intelligence agent, finds himself exiled to Panama, a Casablanca without heroes, to make up for past misdeeds.
But Osnard, by force of habit, still longs for a piece of the action pie. He needs someone to feed him the tasties, while they still are a-cooking. And who better than the humble tailor, who has his tape measure round peoples waists, while they spill their guts out to him.
Enter Harry Pendel (Geoffrey Rush) proprietor of Pendel and Braithwaite, tailors of Saville Row and Panama City, a seemingly harmless benign family man who hobnobs with Panama's rich and famous.
But clothes hardly maketh the man. And our Harry turns out to be a wolf in a three-piece woolen cashmere suit. Not as ferocious, but deceptive nonetheless. An ex-con who has done his time, he has now metamorphosed into a respectable citizen, a loving husband and a doting dad.
Osnard knows of the skeletons in the tailor's closet and is willing to keep his peace, even pay Harry, if selective information is made privy to him. Neck deep in debt and fearful of losing what he's worked so hard to achieve, Harry consents to play a game of 'I spy'.
If Osnard is that desperate for a lead, Pendel believes he owes it to secret agent to make one up. He cuts the suit to fit the cloth, so to speak. And for that little white fib, he churns up one heck of juicy fairy tale, that would put the world's most exaggerated hyperbole to shame.
As the plot thickens we move from swanky nightclubs, brothels and gay bars to cemeteries, down people-packed alleys, and even to the Pentagon, while the Spanish guitar strums on.
Along the way, we meet a myriad of characters -- the tragic hero Mickey (Brendan Gleeson), Osnard's love interest, the Embassy ice maiden Francesca (Catherine McCormack), Harry's rebellious assistant Marta (Leonor Varela), and Harry's deceased Uncle Henry (Harold Pinter)who puts in an appearance every time Harry is in a dilemma.
The web that Harry, the tailor, began to weave widens, the stakes rise by the millions and his creation turns into a veritable Frankenstein, boomeranging right back at him.
Luckily for Harry, Jamie Lee Curtis who plays Harry's better half Louisa, the rich beautiful daughter of an American Panama Canal engineer, comes to his rescue a la True Lies style.
And all's well that ends well.
Remington Steele meets Cleopatra to find Anything But Love. Confused? These television serials starred the leads Brosnan, Varela and Curtis. And The Tailor Of Panama emerges as a crossover of the three genres depicted in the serials.
That's what's wrong with it? The film hasn't made up its mind about what it wants to be. It's interesting, but not thrilling enough.
But, the fantastic plot and the pointed humour keep you going.
Geoffrey Rush is first-rate. He even took tailoring classes from a professional to prepare for the part. His meticulous groundwork, pays off. Jamie Lee Curtis does whatever she can with the little that's been given to her. Brosnan is suave, but he needs to lose the Bond image.
If you have nothing to do on a rainy afternoon, go catch the flick. You won't be let down.
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush, Jamie Lee Curtis, Brendan Gleeson, Catherine McCormack, Leonor Varela, Harold Pinter
Director/Producer/Co-writer: John Boorman
Executive Producer/Screenplay: John Le Carre
Screenplay: Andrew Davies
Director of Photography: Phillippe Rousselot
Production Design: Derek Wallace
Editor: Ron Davis
Costume Designer: Maeve Paterson
Composer: Shaun Davey
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