|'Kit Harrington is forced in to such key spying traits as performing a bit of free running whilst ascending a London apartment block, jumping through restaurant windows in Moscow and... wearing a man bun.'|
The big screen adaptation of the long-running BBC show, the main purpose of which appears to be to depict MI5 as the most porous organisation on the planet, Spooks: The Greater Good emerges from BBC One as a very satisfying feature-length experience. Adding an emerging star in Kit Harington and blending in some further smart casting with the likes of Tuppence Middleton and Elyes Gabel, Bharat Nalluri's film is a potential template for turning a satisfying but resolutely small screen offering into something which justifies spending 100-odd minutes in a cinema (or... at home with a Blu-ray, in this case).
With a traitor in MI5 (shock, horror), Harrington's Will Holloway is enlisted jointly by the show's longest-running character, Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) to find the traitor and by MI5's collection of bods to find Harry, who they think is the traitor. Torn between his old mentor and the institution, Holloway is forced in to such key spying traits as performing a bit of free running whilst ascending a London apartment block, jumping through restaurant windows in Moscow and... wearing a man bun.
Harrington, who is still finding his feet outside of Game Of Throne's Jon Snow, here discovers a role that provides just enough to take him on a little (Snow is a focal point in an ensemble, Holloway is a true lead role), whilst remaining true to his strengths. Holloway, like Snow, is an everyman plus one and Harrington has the right mixture of presence without arrogance and simple charm to pull that off.
The plot though is the usual mixture of bobbins, double-crosses and red herrings, all of which collect around Gabel's US-accented terrorist, who seems to have the run of things despite the close attentions of every agency on the planet. Some largely unnecessary nasty stuff early on doesn't add much but hey, this is from the series which began by sticking a supporting character's head in a deep fat fryer.
There's nothing quite up to that level here and the set pieces perhaps flatter to deceive a little, but it's rarely anything other than satisfying and as a much lower-budget Bond alternative, it more than delivers.