Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)

February 24, 2012

Can you really say that you liked a movie even if you do not fully understand the story it just told? After watching this latest film incarnation of John le Carre's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", I fully agree with several reviewers who said that they know they have seen a cinematic masterpiece, yet cannot grasp the complicated story that just unfolded on the screen. 

I caught this film mainly because of Gary Oldman's Oscar nomination for Best Actor. He is very subdued, but very good in his characterization of retired agent George Smiley, who was called out of retirement to flush out a Russian mole within their spy organization. The way Oldman really disappears into his roles, I am not really sure what he looks like in real life! In my opinion though, this movie was more of a ensemble cast acting, rather than a showcase for a single actor. Colin Firth, Mark Strong and especially Tom Hardy all shine in their respective roles, which I cannot really label as merely "supporting." 

The film was beautiful to watch, with those imaginative camera angles, the energetic editing (but an slam-bang action film this is NOT), the stark colors of the 1970's set design. Is it the fault of Director Tomas Alfredson (of "Let the Right One In" fame) then that I, who had not read the novel nor seen the 1979 Sir Alec Guinness TV- mini-series, did not get all the details of the story right away? Had he put too much stock on visual style rather than focus on the story-telling? I am reserving my right to judge this film with finality on my second watching.

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