[SPOOKS]: THE GREATER GOOD

PrintE-mail Written by Paul Mount

[SPOOKS]: THE GREATER GOOD

Last summer, former CTU agent/loose-cannon super spy Jack Bauer returned from a brief TV hiatus and brought his own particular brand of mayhem to the streets of London in the 24 miniseries Live Another Day. During one typically-eventful day Jack was shot at, beaten up, chased, beaten up again and, in one gloriously insane episode, attacked by redirected drone missiles as he raced through the capital’s streets shortly after an entire hospital had been blown up. British TV stalwart [Spooks] is back after a short rest too, but now on the big screen and again much of the action is set on bustling London streets; but the best [Spooks] can offer is a brief punch-up, a car crash, couple of gunfights and a bit of running around. Bauer, Bond and Bourne have nothing to worry about.

When it debuted on UK TV screens in 2002 - its first series tag line was, memorably, MI5 Not 9 to 5 - [Spooks] was a breath of fresh air, an exciting and fast-moving if fanciful espionage thriller which finally kicked some much-needed life into a stale and moribund British TV drama landscape full of vets, doctors and sedate detectives. Although densely-plotted and populated by richly-drawn, often agonised, characters, [Spooks] could always be relied upon to supply a few TV-budget thrills, spills and races-against-time. But like the second X-Files movie I Want To Believe (which wisely jettisoned its convoluted mythology and attempted - and failed spectacularly - to tell the sort of standalone creepy story which earned it its reputation in the first place), The Greater Good is determined to tell a story absolutely in keeping with the style of the TV series, forgetting that, with the bigger, broader canvas of the movie screen to work with, just recreating the look and tone of a television episode sometimes isn’t quite enough. Much as we occasionally rail against blockbuster movies which assume that CGI and explosions will paper over the cracks, we still like a bit of oomph in our action movies. And oomph is very definitely what [Spooks]: The Greater Good lacks.

This isn’t, by any means, a bad movie and fans of the TV series will be glad to be back in the cold, grey world of the fictional MI5 operating out of its gleaming computer-packed Grid Headquarters at Thames House. Here, we’re a few years on from the end of the TV series and formidable M15 head honcho Sir Harry Pearce (Firth) has become cold and remote since the death of true love Ruth Evershed in the last episode of the TV show. This may come as a surprise to many fans who might remember that Harry wasn’t exactly king of the one-liners in the TV series. Nevertheless, Harry is blamed when a dangerous terrorist named Adam Qasim is sprung during a routine prisoner handover. Suspecting insider involvement, Harry drops off the grid, fakes his own suicide and enlists the aide of decommissioned agent Will Holloway (Harrington) to discover the identity of the mole at MI5 and to find Qasim before he can unleash a terrorist atrocity upon the city.

The Greater Good is very much a slow-burn Cold War thriller rather than an action movie. The plot crackles with intrigue, subterfuge and double-crossing and whilst it never threatens to work up a real sweat the story is more than intriguing enough to maintain the interest and the climax, deep inside M15 itself, is tense and bloody stuff. TV series veteran director Nalluri makes full use of his London (and Berlin) locations and Kit Harington maintains the Spooks tradition of easy-on-the-eye hunky leading men, following in the footsteps of Matthew Macfadyen, Rupert Penry-Jones and Richard Armitage. But it’s Peter Firth’s brooding, troubled Harry Pearce who steals the show, as he always did in the TV series where he became very much the its lifeblood. Here he’s a man finally pushed right over the edge who, even when all hands are against him, takes terrible risks and does terrible things in the name of the greater good.

[Spooks]: The Greater Good is really little more than a two-part TV episode and whilst it’s a bit frustrating that it hasn’t properly seized the opportunity to make a bigger, louder splash on the silver screen, it remains a more than welcome return to the world of a fondly-remembered, landmark British TV series and we certainly wouldn’t be averse to [Spooks] reinventing itself as reliable future feature film franchise.

INFO: [SPOOKS]: THE GREATER GOOD / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: BHARAT NALLURI / SCREENPLAY: JONATHAN BRACKLEY, SAM VINCENT / STARRING: PETER FIRTH, KIT HARINGTON, TIM MCINNERNY, JENNIFER EHLE, TUPPENCE MIDDLETON, DAVID HAREWOOD, LARA PULVER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Expected  Rating: 8 out of 10
Actual Rating:


Suggested Articles:
The remake or reimagining in this case of two classic films, the Seven Samurai and the original Magn
There are always some simple go-to subgenres for low budget filmmakers: zombies and vampires. Both a
We open at the Strode household, where a cute young babysitter is telling her doe-eyed wards&nb
Twenty or so minutes into The Girl with All the Gifts and Glenn Close is thrusting scissors into the
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Movie Reviews

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN 23 September 2016

VAMPIRE RESURRECTION 20 September 2016

CLOWNTOWN 20 September 2016

31 20 September 2016

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS 19 September 2016

SULLY 19 September 2016

ALOYS 18 September 2016

SPAGHETTIMAN 15 September 2016

CONNIE (short film) 14 September 2016

BLAIR WITCH 12 September 2016

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

      
      
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
...