THE TAILOR OF PANAMA
PC Spy Tale
Release Date: March 30, 2001
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush,
Jamie Lee Curtis, Leonor
Varela, Brendan Gleeson, &
Genre: Thriller/Spy Movie
Runtime: 109 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony
Director: John Boorman
Executive Producer: John le Carre
Producer: John Boorman
Writer: John le Carre, Andrew Davies &
Address Comments To:Amy Pascal, President
John Calley, Chairman/CEO
Sony Pictures Entertainment
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
Such is the case with his novel THE TAILOR OF PANAMA and the new movie based on the book. Starring Pierce Brosnan as a ruthless, seductive British spy named Andy Osnard, THE TAILOR OF PANAMA takes place in Panama after the Americans arrested Noriega and handed over the Panama Canal to the leaders of that country. Osnard blackmails fellow countryman Harry Pendel, an ex-con who is now tailor to some of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country, into becoming a spy for him. Harry, however, is an uncontrollable liar. Although Osnard comes to realize this, he encourages Harry to invent a lie that might make Osnard a very rich man. When Harry realizes his lies may destroy the country he loves, as well as his marriage to his politically correct wife, he tries to stop Osnard.
Like the book, this movie slams the Americans. It alleges that, when they invaded the country to arrest Noriega, they bombed one of the poor sections of town where the “real” opposition to Noriega lived. At the end of the movie, Osnard’s machinations lead to another near-invasion by the jingoistic “right-wing” militarists at the Pentagon, eager to get back control of the canal. Ironically, this movie’s anti-American, politically correct, humanist worldview also contends that nearly all of Panama’s elite are corrupt, except, of course, for the boss of Harry’s wife, who is the head official in charge of the canal.
Although the actors and actresses in this movie do a great job, and the direction and photography are first-rate, the propagandistic nature of this movie and a lapse of storytelling at the movie’s climax leave something to be desired artistically as well as morally. There is also some strong foul language, sexual immorality and a pornographic scene at a brothel where Osnard makes a spy rendezvous with Harry. Finally, despite a scene of forgiveness at the end, a couple bad guys escape justice with a pile of loot.
THE TAILOR OF PANAMA has a humanist, politically correct worldview that contains anti-capitalist and anti-American elements. The American military is made to look idiotic, and the businessmen in Panama are totally corrupt, but not the government officials running the canal. This movie also contains some explicit sex scenes and graphic nudity. Since the Cold War with the Communists allegedly ended, spy novelist John le Carre’s stories seem to have become more left-wing.