[MOVIE PREVIEW]A Spy Wrestles Nasty Secrets

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[MOVIE PREVIEW]A Spy Wrestles Nasty Secrets

"Filmmaking is the process of turning money into light and then back into money again," says John Boorman, the acclaimed British director. For his filmmaking career, which has spanned three and a half decades, Boorman has explored the dark side of human nature from "Point Blank" (1967) to "The General" (1998). Though he has not always been successful in turning his maxim into reality (some of his films were dark holes), his failures have not dented his innovativeness. Now he has created a satire of the James Bond movies.

"The Tailor of Panama" has every recognizable element of the 007 series - ambitious secret agents battling money-hungry conspirators. Boorman even chose Pierce Brosnan, the James Bond of the 1990s, as the espionage agent. But this is where the similarities stop. Viewers quickly realize that "Tailor" is a parody of the formula spy films. Instead of playing a suave and noble gentleman battling evil, Brosnan portrays an insidious and even malicious agent whose priority is not his beloved country but himself. Brosnan is Andy Osnard, who is on a mission to Panama. But his real assignment, while secret, becomes almost a secondary concern. He is really in this Central American country to bring closure to a reprehensible affair with the mistress of an ambassador and to pay off his mounting gambling debts.

Forced by his intelligence chief to leave Britain and go to Panama as a listening post, Osnard does learn a "secret" about the Panama Canal from a tailor, Harry Pendel (Geoffrey Rush). Osnard blackmails Pendel, who makes suits for wealthy Panamians, but this soon turns out to be an unwise choice. Pendel is an ex-convict who stitches together lies with the same dexterity he sews suits. Though Pendel's honesty is obviously questionable, Osnard remains credulous. Osnard manages to con another ambitious British agent and then the U.S. Pentagon with his information about the canal.

Boorman weaves his tale around the gullibility of these intelligence agents who are taken in by the lies of a confused tailor. The film will not please those yearning for the predictable but nonetheless exciting tension of the Bond classics, but it is amusing to see Brosnan portraying a bad guy, though he seems to flounder in the role at times. Also, it is interesting to contrast Brosnan's Osnard with his role as an Apache Indian in "Grey Owl," to be released with "The Tailor of Panama" in Korea on Saturday.

by Chun Su-jin

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