Thursday, 15 September 2011

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

One of the best films this year

Hater: Taken from IMDB

"I was in Venice last week so saw this film before its general release. I've been inspired to write the review because of the sheer volume of PR the producers are throwing at this movie ahead of its UK release, making out that it the greatest thing since Citizen Cane and a sure-fire Oscar winner. My main feeling at the end of the film was, "What was the point of that? Why on earth would someone want to remake a 70s spy drama as a carbon copy of countless BBC efforts". There was no attempt to bring anything new to the genre, no hint that they might be making some comment about the modern world (or even the Cold War world) or telling us something we didn't know. If you are over thirty (and you're the target audience) you have seen this all before. The roles are not exactly taxing for the actors who get to speak in their usual RADA accents and be as stiffly upper-lipped as possible. The plot itself is pretty silly (yes, I know it's based on all the Kim Philby type cases but I'm referring to the specific twists and turns of the storyline) and the pace of the action plodding. It's by no means the worst film ever made, just completely unnecessary and on the whole not entertaining."

Too much opinion really, completely unfair when you consider the shed load of positive reviews it’s had.

Lover: Quoted from Anthony Quinn (Film critic for the independent)

"With this new adaptation of John le CarrĂ©'s Cold War classic we could be looking at the most unglamorous spy movie ever made. It is set (almost inevitably) in the early 1970s and comes wrapped in about a hundred different shades of brown. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the anti-Bond movie par excellence. Instead of sex and speedboats we get a dinosaur museum of predigital telephones, drab duds and anonymous office space. A dab of colour in this setting is like a party balloon emerging from an ash cloud.”

Just because I couldn’t put it better myself really.

What I thought:
It’s very telling that at the time of writing this I cannot find a single bad review of this quiet masterpiece of a film. Just watch the trailer and you know you’re in for a treat, just look at the cast headed by Gary Oldman; you have Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Tom Hardy, John Hurt and Benedict Cumberbatch and that’s only touching the surface of the talent involved. You’ll be happy to hear that everyone one them performs at the peak of their abilities and tying it altogether is Tomas Alfredsons sublime subtle shooting style, tying many a thread together to make a web of intrigue that is the best who-dunnit in years.

If it sounds like I’m gushing it’s because I am, it’s not too often a film like this comes along. I like the fact that I haven’t read the book or even seen the ever praised series with Alec Guiness. It made this adaptation the first time I have seen this story and I was blown away by how simple they made it to follow what could have been a complex story with more questions than answers.

That’s not to say there’s no reason not to concentrate, making sure your watching this film in detail will only reward you more. As the plot thickens and the chess pieces move into place, it’s such a delight watching all the strands come together. Gary Oldman is as good as you may heard, the power he holds in words is worth a 100 folded up newspapers wielded by Jason Bourne or even laser watches put to good use by Bond.

I’m not completely full of praise, though there are some stand out moments during the film that are nail biting as you would expect, the rest just serenely trickles past in a flow of superb acting and great shooting. I’m trying to say it’s not as much a nail biter as I was expecting basically but that’s small criticism of what is easily one of the best films of the year and surely at least an Oscar nod For Oldman.

In Cinemas now
Running Time: 127 mins
Cert: 15

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"Films are Loved, Films are hated. I'm here to help you decide where you stand..." I also do web work including a good knowledge of HTML, ASP, using the adobe web package and a strong understanding of SEO, Google Analytics.