: 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 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 - : 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.
reinventing itself as reliable future feature film franchise.
INFO: : 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