Spooks: The Greater Good is a continuation of the immensely popular UK TV show that ended back in 2011. Starring Peter Firth as the series lead Harry Pearce, the film focuses around the events following a leak occurring in MI-5 which led to a high-level target escaping from their custody before he could be handed over to the CIA. After this happened under his control, Pearce disappears. The heads of MI-5 bring in Will Holloway (Kit Harington), an agent formerly working under Pearce until he was decommissioned. As they feel Pearce and the target have contact with each other, the race is on to find Harry before it’s too late.
Now, full disclosure: I have never seen Spooks. Not even one episode. I know nothing about the characters or their backstories, so this is coming from a total outsider’s perspective. However, it seems the makers of the films seem to really care about newcomers, as I had no trouble following any of it. Characters have long speeches about their backstories for seemingly no reason other than exposition and recap purposes and it is unbelievably clunky.
The acting overall seems to be fairly hit or miss. Harry Pearce’s character seems to be a Jack Bauer/MacGyver type who is always one step ahead of everybody, but Peter Firth’s performance is totally at odds with that. He tries really hard to be gruff and threatening but it ends up being comical in how far he misses with it. Kit Harington’s Will is no better, constantly messing things up for Harry and whining about everything. Sometimes you want to slap him and tell him to just get on with it instead of just winging about how bad he has it.
However, it isn’t all bad. All of the performances from the heads of MI-5 are great, especially Jennifer Ehle’s wonderful portrayal of Geraldine Maltby. Of course, who the ˜mole’ is (because there’s always a mole) is incredibly obvious from the first five minutes and the entire plot is riddled with completely predictable plot points and revelations. In fact, the main message seems to be that MI-5 is incompetent and the CIA really should probably take over. The characters are all talking about how someone wants to ˜destroy the service’, but the service seems pretty rubbish and having someone else take over seems like not a bad option in this case.
The film manages to avoid the normal pitfall of TV-to-film adaptations and doesn’t feel just like three episodes of the show strung together. In fact, it doesn’t even look like a TV show, as these often do. It looks lovely, with cinematographer Hubert Taczanowski doing a wonderful of capturing every location and making it look like an actual film rather than an extended episode.