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The Tailor Of Panama  

Directed By: John Boorman
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush, Jamie Lee Curtis, Leonor Varela, Brendan Gleeson, Harold Pinter, Catherine McCormack

Rated: R (Language / Nudity) Running Time: 120 Minutes

Tailor of Panama, The
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Panama... a place where anyone can be bought, no one can be trusted, and the only thing more dangerous than a lie is the truth. This is where British Agent Andy Osnard, played by Pierce Brosnan, has been unlucky enough to be transferred. He's been banished to Panama by MI-6 for committing a certain James-Bondian impropriety, though, unlike Agent Osnard, I doubt that 007 would ever have let himself get caught in the, shall we say, act? Osnard, never one to resist a challenge, ambitiously goes about finding a way to extricate himself from this tropical torture, and figures out how to line his wallet in the process. With the help of a relocated taylor, Harry Pendel, played by Geoffrey Rush, Osnard soon gets more than he bargained for.

Based on the novel by John Le Carre', and labeled a dramatic thriller by most everyone, The Taylor of Panama is actually a very good political satire. Those who have seen this film and think it's dramatic just aren't getting all the jokes! The script is full of wonderfully dry wit, and Brosnan and Rush share the spotlight quite well, each character having his own quirks and complications. I especially enjoyed Brosnan's slimy portrayal of Osnard, who constantly attempts to romanticize his profession, even though the real world keeps destroying his glorified notions about working on Her Majesty's Secret Service. Rush was also very good as Pendel, the prevaricating taylor whose inside information has the potential to topple governments.

The film has also been cast with a droll sense of humor, first with Brosnan as Agent Osnard, and next with True Lies star Jamie Lee Curtis as Pendel's unsuspecting wife, who has no idea that her husband has taken on the role of spy.

Boorman's direction is adequate and not overly intrusive. He knows the story he has to tell, and gets the job done. No fancy editing or flashy high-tech movie gimmicks here, just good solid filmmaking. However, in keeping with this proper British approach, it does take a while for the story to set up the many events that transpire in the third act, so a certain amount of patience is required to fully enjoy this film.

As far as acting goes, the entire cast was very good, and this is Pierce Brosnan's best work to date. Yes, believe it or not, he actually acts in this film, and does a fine job.

To sum up, those with attention spans will be rewarded handsomely by seeing The Taylor of Panama, but those without should probably just go back to watching MTV. Oh, and most importantly, never tell your taylor ANYTHING, especially if you're the corrupt ruler of a small country.

Allen J Vestal

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