Spooks: The Greater Good is a big screen revival of a small screen success. The BBC television series from which it continues ended in 2011 after a nine year run. Now resuming the plot in 2015, the film offers multiple stories revolving around Harry Pearce’s (Peter Firth) squad of MI5 officers who will do anything to protect Britain. Booming from his Game of Thrones success, Kit Harington plays Will Holloway, an ex-agent brought back onto the force to help detain a wanted terrorist.
The Greater Good boasts an impressively consistent pace throughout, with its slower scenes replacing rapidity with tension, giving the film a back and forth sense of constantly pumping and appropriate urgency. The action scenes range from extremely well-choreographed fight sequences to a cheeky bit of parkour in London, showcasing the delight that is the British capital. Admittedly, the first few skyline shots look spectacular and set the scale of the hunt, but after the 7th, it does feel like you are watching an advert made by the London Tourist Board.
Despite this, the film offers a simple plot filled with various character twists which are genuinely surprsing and suspenseful, leaving the audience not knowing who to trust as loyalties wane quickly. This is great as even by the end of the film, there appears to be some ambiguity as to who is in the right and wrong, and as in life, it is never that simple.
The two main characters of Harry and Will have an unexpectedly great chemistry; they represent the older generation of a spy with knowledge and expertise, contrasting with the resourceful and slightly cocky youngen respectively. Spooks sees both the men in a positive light portraying the peak of British spying, as they shoot more sassy one-liners than bullets.
Fans of the original series will be pleased to know it has not been let down by this cinematic adaption
In reference to the TV show, one need not have seen a single episode to enjoy and/or understand this film. If you have seen any of the show however, you will get the odd Easter egg for your devotion to the franchise, but it is not at all necessary. The film carries the same charm and British machismo that the show offered but with a bigger budget; the stakes and production value are accentuated tremendously.
Spooks: The Greater Good is only rated a 15, yet some of the scenes are brutally vivid in their graphic imagery, and it asserts some pretty harrowing themes considering it lends itself to be a spy action film on the surface. Death is frequent, and blood, gun shots, broken bones and explosions are persistent throughout, which only supplements the erratic pace. These are elements of the film which perhaps ought to be at least acknowledged prior to viewing, but it should be said that on the whole, director Bharat Nalluri’s handling of them is adept.
Kit Harington dominates, and the casting director made an excellent choice in seeing his potential for being Harry’s worthy apprentice. Fans of the original series will be pleased to know it has not been let down by this cinematic adaption and should give it their full support. Spooks offers a fun and energetic take on an issue prevalent in society and films as of late (terrorism), and exhibits what British cinema can do as well. Are there many aspects of this film that need changing? “Not a sausage.”
Writer and Editor for the Film & TV section of Impact, Bharat is a keen previewer, reviewer and sometimes just viewer, of all things cinematic and televisual, with a particular passion for biographical pictures, adaptations and sitcoms.