Director: Bharat Nalluri; Screenwriter: Jonathan Brackley, Sam Vincent; Starring: Peter Firth, Kit Harington, Elyes Gabel, Jennifer Ehle, Lara Pulver, Tuppence Middleton, David Harewood, Tim McInnerny; Running time: 104 mins; Certificate: 15
“I still know a trick or two,” says Peter Firth’s seasoned MI5 head Harry Pearce during a tense exchange in Spooks: The Greater Good. It’s a statement that sums up this TV-to-film adaptation well – despite 10 series under its belt Spooks still has something to offer. Particularly if you were a fan of the hit BBC One TV series.
There’s nothing here to rival the jaw-dropping shock of Lisa Faulkner’s deep fat fryer demise in the series’ second episode back in 2002, but The Greater Good stands as a solid spy thriller that successfully harnesses the tone and feel of the TV show. After its trailblazing early years, Spooks gradually brought Firth’s Pearce to the fore, and he takes centre stage here as a terrorist threatens to detonate a bomb in the heart of London.
After Adem Qasim (Elyes Gabel) slips out of MI5 custody, Harry falls on his sword and is forced to leave the service. Soon after he vanishes into the Thames, going off the grid as he attempts to find the MI5 traitor who orchestrated Qasim’s escape. Harry believes that someone’s trying to take apart the agency from the inside, tear it down so it can be merged with the CIA and become a transatlantic security force. He eventually turns to a former protegé he cut loose, Will Holloway (Kit Harington), to help him get to the truth.