Sunday, January 01, 2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

This morning I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, starring Gary Oldman and Colin Firth.

That's the last time I'll see a film without reading the source material first.

It's the Cold War—early '70s. George Smiley (Oldman) is a recently retired British spy brought in to investigate a possible Russian mole. Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy) is the rebel spy, in love with the wife of a Russian operative, convinced of the mole. Bill Haydon (Firth) may or may not be the mole. Roy Bland (Ciaran Hinds) may or may not be the mole. Percy Alleline (Toby Jones) may or may not be the mole.

And... they lost me!

This isn't a typical spy film that features people hanging from buildings or being tortured in heart-stopping, tense scenes. It's a moody, quiet interpretation of what real spy stuff is probably really like. And let's face it, a bit of that is undoubtedly boring.

Amidst the endless conversations and glimpses of what goes down are beautifully framed shots of a soggy London in the past. Once I had completely lost track of the story, I found myself focusing on how lovely the cinematography was and how many expressions Goldman could muster without ever getting excited.

It's really too bad, because fans of the BBC version of the story and the original book seem to be loving the hell out of this.

I can safely say I did not, but that doesn't mean the acting was bad or there weren't clever bits of dialog that woke me up from time to time.

It just wasn't for me—at least not without knowing the story and characters in advance to be able to follow along coherently.



MichaelVox said...

I don't know what happened to you, partner. TOLife, Shame, TTSSpy. Wrong again. It isn't automatically a bad film because you couldn't follow it. I got a bladder infection because I couldn't leave.

The good news is, our lack of agreement probably makes Cinebanter mo' better.

Tassoula said...

Not sure what review you read, but no where up there do I say it was a "bad" film. Good acting, great cinematography does not a bad film make.

That said, if something is so confusing that I can't follow it, I can't be invested in the characters or the point of the story, so it can't be that great. Just because a few fancy critics (who have probably seen the original and know the characters) find it compelling doesn't mean I have to.

Dana Stevens and Ulloguvna seem to agree with me, BTW.

Anonymous said...

I also have seen this movie, and it lost me very quickly as well. the mechanics of the movie were good, but I just could not follow all the twists and turns.