Monday, 6 August 2012

'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' Film Review

Nominated for three Oscars (Best adapted screenplay, leading actor Gary Oldman and original score) with amazing reviews, I thought this was going to be mindblowing... and I guess I was correct- my mind WAS blown, but not in a good way.

Set in the Cold War era, George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is brought out of retirement to investigate a mole amongst his peers within the MI6. 

Tracking down those also relieved of service along with the help of Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), Smiley pieces together the truth about which one of his peers (codenamed Tinker, Tailor, Soldier...) is the traitor.

Sitting next to my mother and sister, we inserted the DVD and started watching. Within a few minutes my sister already uttered her complaint at being confused and claims not to understand what is going on. My mum reciprocates. I sit in silence attempting to absorb more before judging... 10 minutes. 30 minutes... nothing.

As scene after scene of washed out London flash by with a mellow backing track, shots of men walking, men sitting, men reading... panning into windows, textures, details, I stare at the screen waiting for something to happen. Nothing does.

Beautiful yet subtle, the cinematography is superb. I love the attention to detail, the little clues you pick up through the items and props... but it is hard work when you have no basis for what you are looking for. In this way, I found that I finally started grasping the gist of the plot over half way through the movie and by that time it was too late. 

At just over two hours long, you either give up early in the movie or sit through too much to give up. I was the latter. As my two movie viewing companions continued to erk their discontent; me still biding for some shocking event to happen, I soon found the movie started to wrap up before I even felt the hit of a climax.

The ending was just as subtle and slow as the start. I half expected Smiley to be the actual mole and would be framing it on everyone else, but nothing half as exciting as that happens. As the credits begin to roll, I just shake my head in silence at what was possibly the most boring movie experience of my life. 

Was it just me? Or did the beauty of this film just fly by over my head? 

Gary Oldman- George Smiley
Mark Strong- Jim Prideaux
Colin Firth- Bill Hayden
Tom Hardy- Ricki Tarr
Benedict Cumberbatch- Peter Guillam

With an all star ensemble cast, Gary Oldman's character was rather emotionless in my opinion and kind of dealt with the whole situation with a blank, objective face. Even with such a face, however, we can see the pain and suspicion which arises in him as the plot progresses.

Having just seen 'The Dark Knight Rises', Tom Hardy is strange here. I also don't get all the rave about Benedict Cumberbatch. This is the first thing I've seen him in and he really isn't anything spectacular. :P

Whilst there are elements in this movie I rather enjoyed even without understanding the plot (cinematography, symbols etc), I sat through most of this wondering why I bothered and felt in limbo not knowing if I should give up or plough through anyway. 

As so many reviewers who gave it positive reviewers and with it being Oscar nominated, I'm sure those people can't all be deluded so I guess it is a case of giving it a second viewing in the future... but a good film really shouldn't require such effort just to understand the basic plot.

1 comment:

  1. This is arguably one of the best adaptions of a John le Carre spy mystery, filled with double agents, 'moles' , all sorts of plot twists and intrigues, that are hold you in great suspense to the end. The script and editing are outstanding, the cast is solid, especially Gary Oldman, and the suspenseful, ambiguous musical scoring by Alberto Iglesias is amazing.


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