The Tailor of Panama
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A cagey British spy (Brosnan) is sent to Panama to investigate the possible sale of the canal to a foreign power, but ends up scheming with the an ex-con (Rush), who is now a tailor to the elite, in order to capitalize on the situation.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This is a so-so spy flick with the saving grace of some quirky humor and the unique setting of Panama. Based on John LeCarré's novel, the movie starts well enough with an intriguing premise and interesting characters, but then never really takes off. The main problem is that there's really no action or suspense throughout the whole film. Brosnan and Rush banter back and forth for over half of the movie, and you can tell they tried to spice up the dialogue by putting them in some over-the-top settings, namely a gay dance club and some seedy motel with Asian porn playing on TV.
Brosnan can never really shake off the Bond persona, but he plays it a little more edgy here. Rush is perfect as the delusional tailor, but why did they spend so much time on his family life? Jamie Lee Curtis is fine as his sometimes naked wife, but the whole subplot with his family isn't needed. The supporting cast is fairly invisible, with the exception of Brendan Gleeson's overacting as the reluctant alcoholic leader of the tailor's "silent opposition". In the end, this movie is a unique take on the spy film genre, but really isn't any better than the spy films we're used to.
Just like the movie, the extras on this DVD are so-so. Aside from the audio commentary by John Boorman, we get a feature called "A Perfect Fit: a Conversation with Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush" which is a press interview style discussion with the two main actors about the movie. They compare the book to the final script, talk about how these characters compare to their previous roles, and also what it was like to film on location in Panama. I thought this feature was enjoyable. There's also an alternate ending with an optional director's commentary included on the DVD. While it spices up the ending a little with some action, it's probably good they didn't use it. We've all seen the "death-in-a-cornfield" thing done a million times before.
Rounding out this DVD are some cast and crew filmographies as well as some movie trailers and production notes. This DVD is billed as a "special edition", but the extras given here aren't really that special.
This movie is for the Friday night when you've seen everything else and you're wondering what to rent.