THE TAILOR OF PANAMA

We see how one small lie can grow into an uncontrollable monster.
-
REVIEW BY BETTY HAMM



(2001)


This page was created on March 31, 2001
This page was last updated on May 17, 2005

Click to enlargeDirected by John Boorman
Novel by John Le Carr?
Screenplay by John Boorman, Andrew Davies, and John Le Carr?

Pierce Brosnan .... Andy Osnard
Geoffrey Rush .... Harry Pendel
Leonor Varela .... Marta Jamie
Lee Curtis .... Louisa Pendel
Brendan Gleeson .... Mickie Abraxas
Harold Pinter .... Uncle Benny
Catherine McCormack .... Francesca
Daniel Radcliffe .... Mark Pendel
Lola Boorman .... Sarah Pendel
David Hayman .... Luxmore
Mark Margolis .... Rafi Domingo
Martin Ferrero .... Teddy
John Fortune .... Ambassador Maltby
Martin Savage .... Stormont
Edgardo Molino .... Juan-David
Jon Polito .... Ramon Rudd
Jonathan Hyde .... Cavendish
Dylan Baker .... Dusenbaker
Paul Birchard .... Joe
Harry Ditson .... Elliot

Produced by Kevan Barker (co-producer), John Boorman (producer), John Le Carr? (executive producer)
Original music by Shaun Davey
Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot
Film Editing by Ron Davis

Rated R for strong sexuality, language and some violence.

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?There are only so many people you can tell the truth to. The rest you have to ? tailor.?

STUDIO SYNOPSIS:
Click to enlargeRuthless, seductive British spy Andy Osnard (Pierce Brosnan) may have been banished to Panama, but he?s got a secret weapon?Harry Pendel (Academy Award? winner Geoffrey Rush), a Cockney ex-con who has reinvented himself as a popular tailor to the rich and powerful of the country. Harry is famous for his storytelling as well as his suits, but this time Harry?s yarn will give the arrogant Osnard his comeuppance.

In The Tailor of Panama, John Boorman (Academy Award? nominee for Deliverance and Hope and Glory) and John le Carr?, the acknowledged master of the spy novel, team for a new breed of contemporary spy thriller based on le Carr??s hit 1996 book.

We see how one small lie can grow into an uncontrollable monster.

REVIEW BY BETTY HAMM
bhamm@efcn.org
Arts Director
Evangelical Free Church,
Naperville Il (630)983-3232
http://www.efcn.org

?There are only so many people you can tell the truth to. The rest you have to ? tailor.?

Click to enlargePanama, a country described as a Casablanca without heroes. Enter special MI.6 agent, Andy Osnard (played by Pierce Brosnan) who is out of favor and has been sent to Panama as a punishment. He proceeds to make Harry Pendel?s life, the city?s best tailor (played by Geoffrey Rush) miserable. He blackmails Pendel into spying on his customers.

Click to enlargeIn ?The Tailor of Panama? we have a story of two men---one who loves deeply, one who love no one. They are embroiled in a tale of intrigue, espionage, and lies in a country that doesn?t appear to have a heart. ?This is Panama where no good deed goes unpunished.? Click to enlargeThe tailor?s greatest fear is that his wife will discover his past. A history he has kept hidden from her for years. Harry Pendel?s new relationship with Osnard causes him to act secretively, which in turn causes his wife (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) to suspect infidelity.

?The Tailor of Panama? is very much like an adult version of the children?s Veggie Tale movie ?The Fib from Outer Space.? In both films we see how one small lie can grow into an uncontrollable monster. This monster threatens to gobble up the tailor?s shop, marriage and country.

Is the tailor right when he proclaims ?There are only so many people you can tell the truth to. The rest you have to ? tailor.?

Or is Scripture a true guide as it declares:

"There's trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests?look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular."
--Luke 6:26 Message Translation

"Walk straight, act right, tell the truth."
--Psalm 15:2 Message Translation

It was Jesus who stated, "If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you."
-- John 8:31-32 Message Translation

THOUGHTS ON TRUTH

A man can?t always be defending the truth;
there must be a time to feed on it.
--C. S. LEWIS (1898?1963)

About money and sex, it is impossible to be truthful ever.
One?s ego is too involved.
--MALCOLM MUGGERIDGE (1903?1990)

Absolute truth belongs to God alone.
--GOTTHOLD EPHRAIM LESSING (1729?1781)

Better the ugly truth than a beautiful lie.
-- JEWISH PROVERB

If you tell the truth, you have infinite power supporting you; but if not, you have infinite power against you.
-- CHARLES GEORGE GORDON (1833?1885)

Elizabeth Elliot writes, "Plato, three hundred years before Christ, predicted that if ever the truly good man were to appear, the man who would tell the truth, he would have his eyes gouged out and in the end be crucified. That risk was once taken, in its fullest measure. The Man appeared. He told the world the truth?about itself?and even made the preposterous claim: ?I am the Truth.? As Plato foresaw, the Man was crucified."

THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS
Subject: The_Tailor_Of_Panama
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2001
From: Kris Childress

A few thoughts -
Although Harry Pendel (the Tailor) attempts to tell "small" untruths for somewhat noble purposes (to avoid family strife, to help Panamanian friends in need), the corrupt world he finds himself in turns these "minor embellishments" on the truth into an horrendous climax. This is very akin to the results of turning away from God's standards - even in a limited way and for "noble" motives. Like "A Simple Plan", this is a wickedly funny/scary portrayal of a long day's journey into night.

The film has been interestingly updated to deal with a more realistic, current situation in Panama in the post-American Canal phase - a nice touch.

The cast is particularly strong - although I would have liked a better role for the local Panamanians - they seemed a bit flat, like the Americans in this Anglo-centric production.
Kris Childress

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