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The Tailor of Panama

149 customer reviews

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(Sep 11, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Based on the 1996 novel, this is a mixture of thriller and black comedy. Harry Pendel is the tailorto the powerful of Panama. Harry is known for his storytelling and suits, but soon his tales carry lethal repercussions. Harry spins a yarn that is not only taken as truth, but sets off a chain of events that threatens everything he values most in life.

Special Features

  • The Perfect Fit: A Conversation with Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush
  • Alternate Ending with Optional Commentary

Product Details

  • Actors: Harold Pinter, Brendan Gleeson, Catherine McCormick, Pierce Brosnan, Jamie Lee Curtis
  • Directors: John Boorman
  • Producers: John Boorman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 11, 2001
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXWG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,726 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Tailor of Panama" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Themis-Athena on May 13, 2004
Format: DVD
If before the release of John Boorman's adaptation of John le Carre's "Tailor of Panama" (scripted by the novel's author himself) anybody had told me I'd ever see Geoffrey Rush and Pierce Brosnan costarring in the same movie, I'd have snapped "And pigs fly" in response. Apparently I wasn't alone in that feeling, as Mr. Rush himself said much the same thing - although more politely - in an interview broadcast around the time the movie hit the theaters.

Yet, on second thought, who'd have been more appropriate to play James Bond's evil twin than the latest incarnation of Bond himself? Who more appropriate to play the story's multifarious title character than the actor who shone in complex roles like David Helfgott, the Marquis de Sade and Shakespearean theater owner Philip Henslowe?

Going in, I didn't doubt that Geoffrey Rush would be an amazing Harry Pendel - the role of the seemingly pathetic antihero, the little man desperately trying to maintain his dignity in the face of overwhelming odds fits him like a glove; and he does indeed give a bravura, almost Chaplinesque performance. The greater surprise for me was Pierce Brosnan, who takes every single Bond cliche and merrily runs with it in the opposite direction: I confess this took some getting used to, but once I'd gotten into the swing of it, I enormously enjoyed his skill and courage in deconstructing the very image on which his fame is grounded.

Brosnan is Andy Osnard, an MI6 agent sent to Panama as a punishment for having stepped on one toe to many during his last posting.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Joanna D. #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 17, 2002
Format: DVD
If you are expecting a dark, nervous spy thriller, you'd better look elsewhere. But if you are in the mood for something a little out of the ordinary, something darkly humourous, then you may enjoy Tailor of Panama as much as I did.
The director, John Boorman, directed Deliverance, and also Excalibur, the Year of Living Dangerously and Zardoz (a futuristic film with Sean Connery in a red loin cloth and a large flying stone head.) So you can see that Boorman can be a bit, well, unusual. In The Tailor of Panama, he takes us for quite a ride.
Brosnan plays Andy Osnard, a disgraced spy with a penchant for other men's wives. This peccadillo is gracefully overlooked by the higher-ups until he oversteps himself and goes after another man's mistress. MUCH worse, so Osnard is exiled to crummy Panama, where everthing is for sale and nothing is the real goods. He meets Harry Pendel, ably played by Geoffrey Rush, a tailor to the powerbrokers and ex-con. Osnard drags the hapless tailor into a web of espionage and blackmail. But Pendel has a few tricks up his sleeve.
The cast is excellent, and the filming adds an interesting surreal tone by careful control of the lighting. If you are in the mood for something a little different in the spy genre, you might enjoy The Tailor of Panama.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 20, 2001
Format: DVD
I could see why the film wouldn't appeal to everyone since it is as the Director/ Producer John Boorman described a rather "rich brew". It is at once and in turn is a spy thriller, a black comedy, realistic, fantastical, languid, frenetic, a tragedy and a farce. It's a difficult mixture to balance. Evidently for some it didn't work, but for me it did in spades.
Geoffrey Rush is very fine indeed as the Harry Pendel the Tailor who's a dreamer that likes to tailor the truth to make life more beautiful as well as easier. He's at once a good man and a weak man, a poet and a buffoon, and even as his lies are fueled by greed, fear and a need to feel important, they are also fueled by friendship and the overwhelming desire to spin a good yarn and to please (even those he doesn't like). The character is also the vortex for all those above mentioned competing strands. It's a marvelously textured performance.
If Harry is the vortex then Brosnan's Osnard is the catalyst, and what a magnificent one he is. He is as advertised a complete and total cad! A machiavellian rotter without conscience or shame (and language to make a sailor blush). He's also a heat seeking missile for information, money and sex... and not necessarily in that order. One reviewer described him as a cobra. It's a perfect description. He's seemingly languid, and it's not just the effortless charm, the devil may care grins but the relaxed body posture, the loose and ill-fitting clothes, the way he flops himself onto couches, hammocks, beds etc.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on December 12, 2004
Format: DVD
Based on the novel by John LeCarre, this action-packed screenplay by Andrew Davies and LeCarre showcases Panama City in the heady times immediately before the Canal was turned over to Panamanian control. Andrew Osnard (Pierce Brosnan), a free-wheeling British intelligence officer in the doghouse with his superiors, is assigned to Panama to be sure that "the world's biggest trade gate does not fall into the wrong hands." Meeting tailor Harry Pendel (Geoffrey Rush) in his shop, Osnard observes that Pendel has contact with all the important members of the Panamanian government, the opposition, the press, and the diplomatic corps, and, using blackmail, recruits Pendel as a spy for Britain.

When the tailor does not discover any information and is squeezed for it (because he has debts due), he makes it up stories about a "silent opposition," the machinations of the French and Chinese to acquire the Canal, and the negotiations of a corrupt government for its sale. Soon American and British diplomats are arming and preparing for war to ensure that the Canal stays in "friendly" hands.

The plot is nearly identical to that of Graham Greene's famous novel and 1959 film of Our Man in Havana, and the viewer will find few, if any, surprises as the meddling by Osnard and Pendel unfolds. Lacking a strong plot, Director John Boorman has ensured that interest remains high, however, by filming on location in Panama City with its night life, festivals, and parties and by giving Osnard (Brosnan) a libido that controls his life. Attractive women, such as Francesca (Catherine McCormack) at the British Embassy and even Pendel's wife (Jamie Lee Curtis) fall under his spell, and more than a few "Janet Jackson moments" keep the viewer tantalized.
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