Top 5... - October 9, 2015

Survivor (and five of Pierce Brosnan's best moments)
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor,

Survivor (and five of Pierce Brosnan's best moments)

Australian director James McTeigue is probably best known for his 2005 adaptation of Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel, V for Vendetta, but even before that he had gained plenty of experience working on big budget blockbusters as an assistant director to the likes of George Lucas and the Wachowskis, contributing to films like The Matrix and Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. This experience will have served him well on his latest film, a high-octane spy thriller named Survivor, starring Milla Jovovich and Pierce Brosnan, which is released on Monday (October 12th) and available to pre-order on the right-hand side of the page. 

Jovovich stars as Kate Abbott, a US Foreign Service officer stationed in London who narrowly avoids being killed in a bombing aimed at the employees of the US Embassy. Kate and her colleague Sam (Dylan McDermott) discover that the bomb is the work of a renowned assassin named The Watchmaker – step forward, Mr. Brosnan – as well as discovering that Kate's boss Bill Talbot (Robert Forster) is being blackmailed to approve visa applications for terrorists who have kidnapped his son.

Kate also learns that The Watchmaker is behind another bombing in New York, but when Bill discovers that Kate is aware of the blackmail she quickly finds herself framed and branded a terrorist, meaning she must track down one of the world's most skilled assassins while evading capture by her own government an attempting to clear her own name.

The film does struggle a little under a clunky script and you have to wonder if its proximity to the recent Spooks film – in both subject matter and release date – harmed its chances at the box office, but it's Brosnan fans that this film will really appeal to as they'll get to watch him using all his Bond skills in the role of a villain.

You can find the trailer for Survivor below, beneath that we've picked five of Pierce Brosnan's best on-screen appearances for die-hard fans and new initiates alike.


Timothy Dalton gets a bit of an unfair rap for his brief stint as Ian Fleming's famous spy – we stand by the assertion that The Living Daylights is a great film – but by the time Licence to Kill limped into cinemas it was clear that the franchise needed a little something extra and Brosnan's first turn as 007 injected some much-needed steel back into the role; here was a Bond that was meaner, colder, more ruthless. Brosnan had actually missed out on the role some years earlier due to his contractual commitments for his role in Remington Steele, but when he did get his hands on that Martini glass he made it count and this is still the best of of the Brosnan Bond films.

The Ghost

Adapted from Robert Harris' novel of the same name, Roman Polanski's 2010 film stars Brosnan as a former Prime Minister with some not-so-subtle similarities to Tony Blair, who employs a ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) to help him flesh out his memoirs. However, while staying at the Prime Minister's remote beach getaway McGregor's author uncovers secrets about the Prime Minister's time in office that put his own life in danger. The tense interplay between Brosnan and McGregor is brilliant and this must rank as one of Roman Polanski's most underrated films.

The Fourth Protocol

If you're looking for a film that features Brosnan as an icy assassin, then as well as Survivor you could do a lot worse than this 1987 film by James Mackenzie, the man behind the excellent The Long Good Friday. In this Cold War thriller adapted from the novel of the same name by Frederick Forsyth, Brosnan's KGB agent is pitched against Michael Caine's British spy-catcher in an a Russian black ops mission. The title of the film is taken from a clause in an agreement between East and West that prohibits nuclear weapons being deployed by any other means than missiles and bombs, but that's exactly the clause the KGB intends to violate by shipping a nuclear device to the UK in pieces and reassembling it once in the country. Easily as good as the Harry Palmer films and just as tense as a John Le Carre story, this is well worth seeking out.


Brosnan gets to show his sensitive side in Bruce Beresford's 2003 film, adapted from the memoirs of Evelyn Doyle. Based on her own experiences as a child, the story centres around her father Desmond (Brosnan), who finds himself embroiled in a custody battle for his children when his wife abandons him and their three children on Boxing Day in 1953. Under Irish law at that time, children were not allowed to be brought up in a 'broken home' and Evelyn and her siblings were taken into the care of the Catholic Church, who ran institutes known as 'industrial schools' in which many young people claim to have suffered years of sustained child abuse. Brosnan delivers one of his most emotive performances as Doyle, whose struggle to regain his children took more than two years and culminated in a supreme court judgement that essentially turned over the existing law. It's not an easy film to watch, but Brosnan is impressive here.

Seraphim Falls

Our final pick stars Brosnan alongside Liam Neeson in David Von Ancken's 2007 film, set just after the American Civil War. Part revenge tale, part western, the film follows the story of Gideon (Brosnan), a former serviceman who is being ruthlessly pursued by a bounty hunter named Carver (Neeson). Gideon uses all his survival skills in a cat-and-mouse chase through the Ruby Mountains, unaware that Carver has a far more personal reason fro wanting to catch him than mere financial reward. Originally the role was offered to Richard Gere, with Brosnan only taking over after he was forced to drop out, but it's a must-see for any Brosnan fans, especially those who love a western.

Survivor James McTeigue

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