When a terrorist escapes custody during a routine handover, Will Holloway must team with disgraced MI5 Intelligence Chief Harry Pearce to track him down before an imminent terrorist attack on London.
This big screen adaptation of the long running BBC espionage series is an enjoyable spy thriller that doesn’t make the most of its move to the big screen. I watched this film having never seen the TV series, but the story is self contained and easy to follow, with the script giving the audience a good grasp of what makes each character tick without delving into the extensive backstory that I’m sure was explored on the show. The story itself is fairly standard for a spy thriller, following the exploits of MI5 as they attempt to apprehend a dangerous terrorist whilst our key players also try to identify a mole in the upper echelons of the organisation.
Plastered across the promotional material is Kit Harington, who is a newcomer to the ‘Spooks’ world as decommissioned agent Will Holloway, but the real star of the show is a veteran of the TV series in Peter Firth’s Harry Pearce. Pearce is of the ‘old school’ spy mentality – not quite as understated as George Smiley but it’s clear he carries a wealth of history and experience. This is all conveyed expertly by the terrific character actor Peter Firth, and the scenes in which he features are amongst the strongest of the film. Elyes Gabel is a good actor and was particularly memorable in ‘A Most Violent Year’, but his villain is fairly underused here as we spend more time on the mole storyline. Out of the rest of the cast, Tim McInnerny’s pompous official is a particular highlight.
One of the areas where the film does struggle to impress is in the transition from TV to Film, in the sense that there isn’t anything particularly cinematic about the film and instead it feels more like a really good extended TV episode. The action scenes are well shot, with the cat and mouse chase across Heathrow airport particularly enjoyable as Holloway tries to get to Pearce. Overall, ‘Spooks: The Greater Good’ is a solid spy thriller with an excellent performance from Peter Firth. ‘Spooks’ fans will likely lap it up, but it doesn’t do anything particularly special to justify its transition to the silver screen.
Directed By: Bharat Nalluri
Starring: Peter Firth, Kit Harington, Jennifer Ehle, Elyes Gabel, Lara Pulver, Tim McInnerny, Hugh Simon, Tuppence Middleton and David Harewood