Deep in torpid, guerilla-riddled, brothel-centric South America (a currently popular destination for film-makers and a land Graham Greene's fiction has visited many times, always carrying two battered suitcases labelled 'Betrayal' and 'Errant Catholicism'), honorary British consul Charlie Fortnum (Caine) is mistakenly kidnapped. And no one really wants him back. MacKenzie directs with a literal flourish, brandishing Hoskins, charm-like, as an unlikely Argentinian policeman. But even a rabbit's foot as solid as Hoskins cannot ward off the evil charm of Gere reworking his unloving American Gigolo persona that is all wrong for Dr Eduardo Plarr, a character to whom machismo is totally alien. One wonders what Greene, whose thoughts on the cinema and charlatans are always worth hearing, would have to say. Yet even he could hardly find fault with Caine who, as the anti-heroic middle-aged lush (a character he first began to sketch in Educating Rita) gives the performance of his life.
Cast and crew
Joaquim de Almeida