THE TAILOR OF PANAMA directed and produced by John Boorman, written by Boorman, Andrew Davies and John Le Carré from Le Carré's novel, with Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush, Jamie Lee Curtis, Leonor Varela and Brendan Gleeson. 109 minutes. A Columbia Pictures release. Opens Friday (March 30). For venues and times, see First-Run Movies, page 82. Rating: NN Rating: NNNNN
the tailor of panama resembles
a serious version of Graham Greene's classic comedy Our Man In Havana .
A disgraced English spy (Pierce Brosnan) is sent off to Panama and decides that things are just too dull. He finds the eponymous tailor (Geoffrey Rush) and decides to manipulate his connections to create diplomatic-military crises where none exist.
With John Boorman directing and collaborating with novelist John Le Carré on the script, this disappointing hash should be better than it is. Boorman is a wildly erratic director -- Point Blank and Deliverance, Where The Heart Is and Beyond Rangoon -- so you never know what you're going to get.
The Tailor Of Panama feels like it should be black comedy, and Boorman has certainly assembled the cast to play it, but none of them seem to be in the same movie.
There's nothing wrong with any of the performances. Pierce Brosnan is rakishly dissolute as Andy Osnard, Rush nervously obsequious as Harry Pendel. Curtis makes full use of her worry lines, and there's terrific work in smaller roles like Dylan Baker's as the American general looking for his own successful military adventure and Harold Pinter's turn as Uncle Benny. But the cast never develops any real chemistry.
The Tailor Of Panama isn't one of those failed movies that have become a Boorman specialty (Zardoz, The Emerald Forest, Beyond Rangoon) where you wonder what on earth they were thinking. One can see exactly what the film wants to do, but it turns out to be less than the sum of its considerable parts and, unfortunately, DOA.