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Film / The Tailor of Panama

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The Tailor of Panama is a 2001 film directed by John Boorman and starring Geoffrey Rush, Pierce Brosnan, Jamie Lee Curtis and Catherine Mac Cormack. It is adapted from a novel by John le Carré. It follows the stories of British ex-pat Harry Pendel and the British MI-6 agent who blackmails him, Andy Osnard.

This film contains examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Mickie.
  • Attempted Rape: Osnard forces himself on Curtis's character when she comes to confront him about the out-of-control mess he and Harry have created; fortunately she manages to fight him off.
  • Batman Gambit: Andy's plan that Harry will go on with the lies.
  • Blatant Lies: Part of Harry and Andy's game.
  • The Casanova: Andy Osnard is a classic example of this, with results ranging from very positive to tongue-biting rejection.
  • The Chessmaster: Osnard. An important point in the film is that Osnard is perfectly aware that everything Harry tells him is fabrication. It is part of his plan.
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  • Dark and Troubled Past: Harry's original weakness: he took part in his Uncle Benny insurance scam and went to jail for it. His wife doesn't know. Andy Osnard's expert exploitation gets the plot rolling between these two.
  • Funny Background Event: When discussing in the brothel, you can see a woman riding a man in the background.
  • Good Parents: Harry and his wife are these - thus enhancing the many Pet the Dog moments that let us know how nice a guy Harry is.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: When discussing who is buying the canal in the brothel, Harry mentions the Chinese by seeing Asian porn movie. Andy asks which one, Taiwanese, Chinese. Harry replies "Both" when he sees two Asian girls playing with each other.
  • Karma Houdini: The movie ends with Panama in total chaos, with Andy fleeing carrying a suitcase full of money and Harry happily cooking his family breakfast.
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  • La Résistance: Harry, Marta, and Mickie Abraxas. In Harry's mind, at least.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Downplayed with Jamie Lee Curtis, with a couple of glimpses of her breasts a couple of times in the film.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Andy Osnard was sent to Panama as a banishment after having an affair with an ambassador's mistress.
  • Recycled In Space: As le Carre acknowledged, this is basically an updated version of the Graham Greene novel Our Man in Havana, brought up-to-date and set in a different country.
  • Retargeted Lust: a married woman has tense and increasingly sexy banter with the spy who may be endangering her husband. After he leaves, she has sex with her husband and he with his new girlfriend.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: At some point, Harry wants to stop : "I want out!". But it's too late.
  • “The Reason You Suck” Speech: Harry lecturing his customers.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Both Andy and Harry play this game, but it manages to get out of their control when the British and U.S. governments get involved.
    • It was Andy's plan all along. He's just afraid to be too late, when he sees US troops invading Panama (again).


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