Jump to content


Photo

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2012)


  • Please log in to reply
106 replies to this topic

#41 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,375 posts

Posted 05 December 2011 - 12:49 PM

What do you make of Martin Ritt's THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, Nathaniel?

#42 Nathaniel

Nathaniel

    Your Obedient Servant

  • Member
  • 730 posts

Posted 05 December 2011 - 01:37 PM

What do you make of Martin Ritt's THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, Nathaniel?

Have not seen it. I understand it's widely considered the high-water mark in spy cinema, though. My favorite book-to-screen le Carre adaptation (besides the original Tinker, Tailor) is probably Boorman's The Tailor of Panama.

To be fair, Alfredson does a pretty creditable job behind the camera. The compositions are very balanced and there's a startling scene that features
Spoiler
that caught everyone in the theater completely off guard. But I didn't agree with many of his aesthetic choices: the fashionably washed out images (a too literal visual extension of the film's morally gray outlook), the space squashing long lenses, the faux-seventies zooms. I frankly did not care for the look of the film. Further, Alfredson either doesn't know how to create tension within a scene or just isn't interested. As if would be vulgar to give the audience what it wants. As if it's beneath him.

Things I enjoyed: Oldman's performance, Strong's performance, the art direction (especially that weird orange room where the Circus colleagues convene).

Edited by Nathaniel, 05 December 2011 - 02:06 PM.


#43 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,375 posts

Posted 05 December 2011 - 03:33 PM

Have not seen it. I understand it's widely considered the high-water mark in spy cinema, though.

I love Ritt's THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD. Some friends said this new TINKER, TAILOR was of similar quality and tone, which is why I asked.

#44 Jason Panella

Jason Panella

    "I like the quiet."

  • Member
  • 3,671 posts

Posted 05 December 2011 - 03:35 PM

I love Ritt's THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD. Some friends said this new TINKER, TAILOR was of similar quality and tone, which is why I asked.


I hope your friends are right. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold is fantastic.

#45 MattPage

MattPage

    Bible Films Geek.

  • Member
  • 4,189 posts

Posted 06 December 2011 - 05:28 AM

The Guardian says that the same team may remake Smiley's People. I just finished listening to that on the full audio book. Really enjoyed it.

Matt

#46 Jason Panella

Jason Panella

    "I like the quiet."

  • Member
  • 3,671 posts

Posted 08 December 2011 - 09:53 AM

The Guardian says that the same team may remake Smiley's People. I just finished listening to that on the full audio book. Really enjoyed it.



I was about to ask why no one wants to adapt The Honourable Schoolboy, but I realize it's because it might not translate as well to the screen. (Plus, Smiley is less of a focus there.)

In other news, the AV Club gives Tinker, Tailor an A-.

Edited by Jason Panella, 08 December 2011 - 09:54 AM.


#47 NBooth

NBooth

    Magpie of Ideas

  • Member
  • 2,723 posts

Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:57 PM

Le Carre likes it.

Once in a lifetime, if a novelist is very lucky, he gets a movie made of one of his books that has its own life and truth. This is the achievement of Tomas Alfredson and his team.


Meanwhile, it looks like the movie's not coming to Alabama any time soon. Which means I'll be catching it on DVD.

#48 J.A.A. Purves

J.A.A. Purves

    Chestertonian, Rabelaisian, Thomist, Christian

  • Member
  • 3,024 posts

Posted 09 December 2011 - 05:19 PM

Meanwhile, it looks like the movie's not coming to Alabama any time soon. Which means I'll be catching it on DVD.

Until reading that, it had somehow escaped my notice that this was a limited release. Why? Looks like a trip to San Francisco is in order.

#49 Tyler

Tyler

    I right the outlaw wrongs on Mars.

  • Member
  • 6,065 posts

Posted 11 December 2011 - 06:40 PM

Per-screen average box office: $75,000.

#50 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,375 posts

Posted 11 December 2011 - 10:06 PM


Meanwhile, it looks like the movie's not coming to Alabama any time soon. Which means I'll be catching it on DVD.

Until reading that, it had somehow escaped my notice that this was a limited release. Why? Looks like a trip to San Francisco is in order.

Yeah, I'm pretty bummed it's not playing near me. This is right at the top of my to-see list.

#51 Overstreet

Overstreet

    Sometimes, there's a man.

  • Member
  • 17,056 posts

Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:40 PM

Frederica Matthewes-Green at Christianity Today is not pleased.

#52 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,708 posts

Posted 16 December 2011 - 06:06 PM

Frederica Matthewes-Green at Christianity Today is not pleased.

Her views take bravery to express in the face of the movie's strongest advocates, who are busy tweeting about how anyone who has trouble following the story is disqualified from ever reviewing another film.

I didn't find following the plot as difficult as I did getting on board with the story's pacing. I love several movies that others refer to as "slow," even "boring." This one defied me to get on its wavelength. Once I did, I still wasn't convinced of its great merits, even as I admired the film aesthetically.

#53 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,708 posts

Posted 17 December 2011 - 05:30 PM

Podhoretz gets right to it at the beginning of his review:

The new version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy—John le Carré’s 1974 novel made into an indelible 1979 miniseries with Alec Guinness—isn’t really a piece of storytelling. It’s more of an art installation, a series of beautifully conceived and executed pictures designed to convey the mood of le Carré’s novel. Bleak and dour and chilling, as strikingly monochromatic as any movie made in color has ever been, Tomas Alfredson’s film is a stunning achievement in cinematography and art direction. Every frame is perfectly composed. Every sequence is beautifully lit. The visual and thematic control Alfredson exercises here marks him as a master of a kind.

But not of a storytelling kind.


I'm very interested in the public's response to this film. I'm not rooting against Tinker, Tailor, but I can't remember the last time a film ostensibly aimed at the mainstream (albeit via platform release) was met with such a high level of critical praise and possible public puzzlement.

#54 Overstreet

Overstreet

    Sometimes, there's a man.

  • Member
  • 17,056 posts

Posted 17 December 2011 - 06:32 PM

My main thought upon finishing the BBC series was, "If they could barely contain this story in 6 hours - and it was very difficult to follow even so - how in the world are they going to tell this story in two?"

#55 Peter T Chattaway

Peter T Chattaway

    He's fictional, but you can't have everything.

  • Member
  • 29,321 posts

Posted 17 December 2011 - 11:43 PM

Our very own vjmorton (a sampling):

why didn't they pass out Cliff Notes or a flow chart or ... SOMETHING!!! ... as you went into TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY? Plot's way too convoluted to be worth following given that there's little (by design) emotional stakes and no real action set pieces (ditto)

this was just (to cite the *friendly* Sicinski) like watching a game of chess. If you don't understand the rules.

lest I be misunderstood ... the film IS sorta intelligible, but the work/reward ratio is far too high, and Alfredson's direction is so clumsy and unmotivated that it's the film equivalent of bad prose.

I must say, reactions like these to Alfredson's remake of this story are rather interesting, in light of the fact that so many fans of Alfredson's previous film (i.e. Let the Right One in) were so dismissive of the remake of THAT film.

#56 Darrel Manson

Darrel Manson

    Detached Existential INFP Dreamer-Minstrel Redux

  • Member
  • 6,637 posts

Posted 02 January 2012 - 10:55 PM

I didn't find following the plot as difficult as I did getting on board with the story's pacing. I love several movies that others refer to as "slow," even "boring." This one defied me to get on its wavelength. Once I did, I still wasn't convinced of its great merits, even as I admired the film aesthetically.

That is a good summary. Pace, especially early on, would work well on a DVD for those with insomnia.

#57 Peter T Chattaway

Peter T Chattaway

    He's fictional, but you can't have everything.

  • Member
  • 29,321 posts

Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:29 PM

Saw it today and found it stunning. Watching Alfredson's framing and choice in shot sequencing took my breath away on more than one occasion.

That's interesting, since one of Mike D'Angelo's big complaints (he's made it a few times in his Twitter feed) is that Alfredson -- both here and in Let the Right One in -- shows no interest in how to connect his shots. Here's how he puts it in his viewing journal:

Something about the way Alfredson constructs his movies makes me break out in hives. Let the Right One In is perfectly straightforward from a narrative perspective, yet the experience of watching it—even the second time—was syntactically bewildering, as there seemed to be no relationship between contiguous scenes, or frequently even between contiguous shots. Soderbergh has talked about how he cuts the film in his head as he's shooting it; Alfredson apparently does whatever the opposite of that would be. Same deal here, only this time in a much more convoluted context—I was able, with some effort, to follow what was going on, but practically every cut found me screaming (out loud on one occasion; I live alone) WHAT THE MOTHERFUCK AM I LOOKING AT? I can handle the occasional jarring edit for effect, or even a nonstop barrage of them in something explicitly experimental (e.g. Container), but an adaptation of an author as stubbornly plot-heavy as Le Carré needs to flow, to guide us expertly through the thicket. I felt repeatedly stranded, and not in a productive way. And find it inexplicable that I seem to be alone (apart from otherwise admiring reviews conceding that the story is confusing, which they invariably abscribe to the source material rather than to the direction). Odds are I would have found this underwhelming even had it been crafted with more care, as there seems to me precious little emotional purchase in Smiley's professional detachment—the revelation involving his wife at the very end should cut deep, yet even the invented Christmas-party flashbacks expressly designed to achieve that purpose...no, you know what, that's a function of how they were directed/edited as well. Fuck this dude, how does he have a career?

FWIW, I saw TTSS AFTER reading some of D'Angelo's complaints, and I don't quite get what he's talking about; the film seemed to make enough sense to ME. (Although there WAS one point where I wondered if we were watching a flashback or if the story had skipped over a significant plot twist for now. And now that I think of it, he might have a point about the Christmas-party flashbacks, which I don't recall him mentioning in his Twitter feed.)

#58 John Drew

John Drew

    A vast sponge of movie minutiae... - Jason Bortz

  • Member
  • 3,537 posts

Posted 07 January 2012 - 12:30 PM

Saw it today and found it stunning. Watching Alfredson's framing and choice in shot sequencing took my breath away on more than one occasion.

That's interesting, since one of Mike D'Angelo's big complaints (he's made it a few times in his Twitter feed) is that Alfredson -- both here and in Let the Right One in -- shows no interest in how to connect his shots. Here's how he puts it in his viewing journal:

Something about the way Alfredson constructs his movies makes me break out in hives. Let the Right One In is perfectly straightforward from a narrative perspective, yet the experience of watching it—even the second time—was syntactically bewildering, as there seemed to be no relationship between contiguous scenes, or frequently even between contiguous shots. Soderbergh has talked about how he cuts the film in his head as he's shooting it; Alfredson apparently does whatever the opposite of that would be. Same deal here, only this time in a much more convoluted context—I was able, with some effort, to follow what was going on, but practically every cut found me screaming (out loud on one occasion; I live alone) WHAT THE MOTHERFUCK AM I LOOKING AT? I can handle the occasional jarring edit for effect, or even a nonstop barrage of them in something explicitly experimental (e.g. Container), but an adaptation of an author as stubbornly plot-heavy as Le Carré needs to flow, to guide us expertly through the thicket. I felt repeatedly stranded, and not in a productive way. And find it inexplicable that I seem to be alone (apart from otherwise admiring reviews conceding that the story is confusing, which they invariably abscribe to the source material rather than to the direction). Odds are I would have found this underwhelming even had it been crafted with more care, as there seems to me precious little emotional purchase in Smiley's professional detachment—the revelation involving his wife at the very end should cut deep, yet even the invented Christmas-party flashbacks expressly designed to achieve that purpose...no, you know what, that's a function of how they were directed/edited as well. Fuck this dude, how does he have a career?


FWIW, I saw TTSS AFTER reading some of D'Angelo's complaints, and I don't quite get what he's talking about; the film seemed to make enough sense to ME. (Although there WAS one point where I wondered if we were watching a flashback or if the story had skipped over a significant plot twist for now. And now that I think of it, he might have a point about the Christmas-party flashbacks, which I don't recall him mentioning in his Twitter feed.)



I almost wish I hadn't read this, as I'm going to see TTSS this morning, because now I may look for that aspect rather than totally immersing myself in the story.

I find it interesting that D'Angelo uses Soderbergh's style as a comparison Alfredson's. I hope all filmmakers have a vision in mind before shooting, but not to the point where it confines them from having a little fun in the editing room. While I have enjoyed a lot of Soderbergh's films, they almost always have a .... "sterile" quality to them, perhaps because he does approach his filming with his "final cut" already lodged in his brain. That worked great on films like Contagion or Traffic, which have a documentary-like feel to them, but less so on films like The Limey or King of the Hill, which only worked for me because of commanding performances of Terrance Stamp and Jesse Bradford, and not for any stylistic approach in those films' presentation. Perhaps Soderbergh's approach is a little too restricting. At least that's the way it comes off from my perspective, but hey, to each his own.

I rewatched Let the Right One In over New Year weekend, and still loved the way that the film is shot. I really can't remember any specific shot that had me puzzling out why it was included.

Edit: FWIW, TTSS expanded it's theatre count yesterday. I tried two different locations last night, and both were sold out over a half hour before the start time. Hope this bodes well for the box office.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah, 07 January 2012 - 12:35 PM.


#59 Overstreet

Overstreet

    Sometimes, there's a man.

  • Member
  • 17,056 posts

Posted 07 January 2012 - 08:37 PM

Not incomprehensible. Not at all. Actually, it's *more* comprehensible, in some ways, than the miniseries. Which is an achievement in itself.

And sure, you can say that I had an advantage, having seen the miniseries. But not really, as there is a huge cast of characters, and they look very different in this film, not to mention that the story is told very differently, which adds new twists, some aspects dialed down or eliminated, and other aspects that were only slightly insinuated in the series turned up loud.

I went with my friend Danny, who has never read the book or seen the miniseries, and at the end he just shrugged and said, "I had no trouble. Made sense to me."

So no, not incomprehensible. Just more difficult for some moviegoers than others.

And I loved it. Loved it.

Great casting. I do not know what Mike D'Angelo is on about this time; I thought it was very well shot, with an emphasis on verticals and boxes and textures (although the editing did suggest, at times, some last-minute cutting). I want to see a whole series with Oldman as Smiley. He's just masterful. And Cumberbatch wasn't bad either.

Very interesting choices to contrast it with the series.

A much stronger focus on sexual relationships, orientations, and perversions in this version (which makes me wonder if the book makes such a big deal about that).
Spoiler
Interesting that we never see
Spoiler
. (She has a whole scene in the series.) Also interesting that we never see
Spoiler
. I actually gasped when we see
Spoiler
, since that was handled very differently than in the series, IIRC.
Spoiler


Great stuff. Enjoyed every minute.

Edited by Overstreet, 07 January 2012 - 08:39 PM.


#60 Overstreet

Overstreet

    Sometimes, there's a man.

  • Member
  • 17,056 posts

Posted 07 January 2012 - 08:45 PM

Okay, one serious complaint. Having recently watched Me and Orson Welles, I find this movie guilty of Egregious Neglect of Christian McKay.