Blu-Ray Review – The Honorary Consul

The Honorary Consul, or the even more generic Beyond The Limit, as it is known in some territories, was directed by John Mackenzie, Mackenzie is probably best-known as the director of The Long Good Friday, and also the utterly insane education film turned slasher film, Apaches. His most notable later film is probably Ruby, a biopic on Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassin Jack Ruby that came out three months after Oliver Stone’s JFK. IN addition to those, the spy thriller The Fourth Protocol, which stars Michael Caine and a pre-Bond Pierce Brosnan, is also well-known to an extent.

However, Mackenzie first worked with Caine on The Honorary Consul, where he plays the title character. It’s based on the Graham Greene novel of the same name, and Greene considered it one of his favourites amongst his own work. The film is a bit of chore, however, especially with Richard Gere’s hilariously off performance as the half-English, half-Latin doctor Eduardo Plarr. I love Richard Gere when he is good, and this role came to him at his early peak: The Honorary Consul is the film he did between An Officer and a Gentlemen and the underrated Breathless remake. Gere has been many things, including a blinky-eyed male prostitute in American Gigolo and a wild Jerry Lee Lewis-loving criminal in Breathless, but he is most certainly NOT a half-English, half-Latin doctor.  Gere’s casting creates such a disconnect with the audience that it’s almost a hard film to watch.

The plot is mostly a love triangle between Gere, Caine’s drunk consul Charley Fortnum, and Clara (Elpidia Carrillo). The problem is that she is Fortnum’s wife. Kidnapping and failed revolutions are afoot, and the usual Greene Catholic-schoolboy redemption crap arrives in its final moments. It’s perfectly fine, but Gere’s casting is a serious flaw that sabotages the whole proceedings. Bob Hoskins also reunites with Mackenzie, who directed him in The Long Good Friday as a colonel.

The sole special feature is the theatrical trailer.

★★½

Ian Schultz

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