Esquire magazine has tag lined this film – “Mission Impossible meets Bourne“, well that’s actually a lot to live up to, considering both series consist of some of the finest films of the spy genre. First of all, this movie is a spin-off from the BBC TV Series Spooks, luckily you don’t need to have seen the TV show in order to understand what is going on as the film itself is an effective stand-alone piece. For the uninitiated, ‘Spooks‘ was a British television show centered around MI5 spies (nicknamed Spooks and essentially the British NSA). Be under no illusions: this doesn’t have blind patriotism, missing super-weapons or a suave chiseled hero. And while Kit Harington is the being promoted as the lead star, the actual star is none other than long-time veteran & the star of TV show Peter Firth. Even though I have never seen the show myself, I have been told the film does consist of Easter eggs linked to the TV series as a nod to the fans.
Well, the movie has a fairly decent storyline and that is what it mainly focuses on. There are also a couple of intense moments which is what I like in a thriller. There is also a bit of character development as well. Without giving anything away there are also a couple of twists. Don’t go into this movie expecting a lot of gun fights and car chases – you will be disappointed! As the whole plot works the characters & their mind games with each other. The story follows MI5 spymaster Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) who is in disgrace after America’s most wanted Qasim (Elyes Gabel) escapes during his transport. Convinced about a traitor in his mix, Sir Harry stages his death in order to find Qasim on his own & offer him a deal to give up the traitor in his company. With the help of his former decommissioned agent Will Holloway (Kit Harington), Sir Harry must recapture Qasim, before he plants his monstrous attack on London. The plot is all sub-Tinker Tailor twisty turns, the action highly inspired by of Bourne-like shoot-outs and chases, with an emphasis on techy surveillance. It’s nonsense, but there’s fun to be had in the endless double-crosses, and I am sure fans of the TV show won’t feel disappointed. It is a very good combination of atmosphere, character, event and action, with excellent London location work and thoughtful cinematography, and I enjoyed it a great deal more than I thought I would. This feels like not a television movie but a gritty British film worthy of recognition. Although you won’t be seeing Kit Harrington drop forty feet on a rope, catch a bead of sweat in slow motion, before it hits the floor sensors. You will see a nod to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and the internal corruption of the British Secret Service.
Its well put together, takes you one way and then spins you 180. Yes! It has his fair share of flaws, especially the opening sequence itself, which almost shows MI5 as incompetent! The scene when a motorcycle terrorist gang is driving down traffic, the easiest way to stop them is to open the car door! But an entire special forces unit that seem afraid of their own guns? Why not just turn the sirens on and drive off? Where are the helicopters? Why are the police 30 minutes away? Imagine only if they would have done that right! The performances – Peter Firth is a very British older version of Jack Baur (24 TV series). Never has a older man with wrinkles and a receding hairline been so bad-ass, well other than Liam Neeson. Kit Harington slightly underplays a Jason Bourne clone & is likeable as an action star. Elyes Gabel is is sympathetic, never cartoonish or monologuing unlike spy movie villains! M. Jennifer Ehle, Tim McInnerny and David Harewood vie with each other for creepiness as a trio leading MI5. While, the mole plot seems recycled from many spy tales, director Bharat Nalluri manages to keep us indulged with pleasing twists and turns. On the whole, ‘Spooks: The Greater Good‘ is a stimulating enjoyable spy film, which engages the audience to actually have a think while watching it. As good as the M.I and Bourne franchises are, this is all together different. I have never seen Spooks on BBC, but this has pushed me to take a look at what I’ve been missing out on.
Overall Rating: 7.4