Movie Review – Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)

Director: Bharat Nalluri

Stars: Kit Harington, Peter Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Tuppence Middleton, Elyes Gabel, Lara Pulver, David Harewood, Tim McInnery

Based on the BBC tv series, Spooks: The Greater Good begins as a routine escort mission goes wrong and a terrorist escapes. With the failures of MI5 under the microscope, Harry (Firth) begins to suspect a traitor in the ranks, so he gets in contact with a decommissioned agent, Will (Harington) to try and help him uncover the traitor, while Harry himself plays a dangerous game.

I have never watched the tv show but it’s not a prerequisite going onto this film. There’s some backstory given for Harry, but as I understand it most of the cast is new to the film, although there’s hints of backstory given which gives the world depth, and implies that these are people with a history together, and I liked that. One of the main reasons I went to see this is because of Harington, who I am a fan of from Game of Thrones, as I’m sure many people are, but the role of protagonist is shared by him and Harry, but I think perhaps I would have been more invested in Harry as a character had I watched the tv show.

The plot itself is reasonable. It’s fairly standard spy thriller stuff, with a few twists that keep things interesting. The tension was there in places as well, and I felt the ending had a fitting climax. But it’s not going to blow anyone out of the water and it’s not going to stand against the Bonds of the world. The main problem I had is that I couldn’t properly empathize with the characters. Harry started off as an outcast, and I feel that Will was supposed to be the newcomer’s window into the world, but he was pretty hopeless and never knew what was going on. He got played more than once, and didn’t strike me as particularly heroic. I don’t fault Harington’s performance, it’s more the way the character was written than anything else.

The thing is, it’s based on a tv show. Now, I don’t know what the tv show was like and I’m sure that if this movie had been an episode of the show it would have been incredible (in a different world where it would have had the same budget), but this film sits in the uncomfortable position where it probably has too much scope for a tv episode, but it doesn’t quite reach the explosive echelons of cinema, and I can’t imagine that it’s going to have much of an impact. It’s a decent film, but I’d be interested to see what people of the show thought of it, because as far as I know only a couple of the cast from the tv show were in it, and I have to wonder if there’s any point in continuing a tv show as a movie if you’re adding in mostly new characters? Would the Star Trek films have felt the same if only Kirk and Spock made the transition from tv to movies?

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