From 2002 – 2011, British TV series Spooks re-invented the stagnant spy genre. Over-burdened with endless fluffy spy capers on film and television, it needed an overhaul.
Entering the field with guns blazing, Spooks showed the frailty of its agents and the tough lifestyle they faced. Gritty, violent and without remorse, Spooks carved a new and exciting wrinkle to the field. Spooks: The Greater Good is its long-awaited screen outing with fans sure not to be disappointed by its cloak and dagger shenanigans.
When a dangerous terrorist escapes during a routine handover, MI5 Intelligence Chief Sir Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) shoulders the blame. Disgraced and without the resources to back him up, he determines to clear his name. Learning of an imminent terrorist attack, he enlists the help of former agent Will Holloway (Kit Harrington). Together they try to uncover the truth behind the shadowy lies before the clock strikes to potential Armageddon.
More low-key than perhaps was expected of a big screen Spooks adaptation, Spooks: The Greater Good nonetheless delivers. Having plenty of intense character moments and high octane action, it successfully expands on the series’ mythology. First-time viewers may be somewhat confused by the occasional reference only fans would know but overall it’s a film general espionage lovers should enjoy.
Moving briskly, the cast go through the paces with ease. Firth and Harrington make for a fine team as their characters face a litany of death and deception. The simple plot and smaller cast allow for better enjoyment of the finely-crafted action. It’s as violent and shocking as always but never too gratuitous. This film is more interested in creating an ongoing mood of authentic tension, with the surprising twists genuine.
Fans should watch Spooks: The Greater Good with smiles on their faces. Hopefully this will lead to another instalment as its uncompromising look at the secret service provides a good antidote to the increasingly silly spying game seen elsewhere.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 8