Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
lot of promnise but ultimately just not exciting or tense enough - Colm2305
Maybe it was the lack of air con and a packed theatre causing uncomftorable heat in Cineworld Parnell Street, maybe it was the guy munching loudly on popcorn behind me, or maybe i'm just an idiot, but despite the universal praise (bar the Toronto Film Festival – go Canada!!) Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy failed to impress me. When the end credits rolled on what should have been an exciting and tense two hours of cold war espionage I simply just didn't care.
The first thing anyone will tell you about this film is it's slow, very slow, and you need to have patience. I have patience, a lot of patience. I'll sit down with three hours of Malick anyday and watch him film birds flying, but slowness is all for nothing if it fails to convey a mood or atmosphere. The film achieves this already with great cinematography, use of location, and set design, not to mention the detail taken with everything from clothing and briefcases to haircuts and music. Why it then decides to slow everything down to an almost unbearable pace is beyond me. Scenes where nothing is conveyed, we learn nothing new, our curiosity is not stirred, all seem to exist for no point whatsoever.
Adapted from the novel of the same name Oldman playes Smiley, a British Intelligence Officer out to uncover a mole high up the ranks who's feeding the Soviets all the good stuff. From word go we're shown who the suspects are, an array of the UKs finest actors, and for the rest of the film we learn absolutely nothing more about them. We learn their name and that's it. Colin Firths Haydon get's a few side scenes but nothing more. As for the rest of the suspects we have no reason to feel involved with the investigation as we recieve no news on them.
Things start to pick up when the setting moves to Istanbul, and Tom Hardys Tarr gets some nice scenes and a subplot that is a welcome change of pace. Also Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the few characters who gets some kinda development and steals every scene he's in. As for the rest, Mark Strong shows promise in an early scene only to spend the rest of the film in a caravan befriending a lonely boy, and Ciaran Hinds does absolutely nothing bar show up in a few scenes to remain silent but show off his thick neck.
Coming from Tomas Alfredson, the man who brought us the great Swedish film Let The Right One In, this is a disappointment. He is clearly a talented man, with nicely set up set pieces and some Gursky-esque camera angles (an amazing shot of three rooms at once as the action moves from one to another), but his choice of pace and how it's unravelled fail to keep our attention.
According to the posters this is one of the best film you'll see this year, but according to me and going by the 'What the heck?'s I heard from the audience come the films end this is one I would gladly miss if I had the choice.
Review published on the 21 September 2011 10:35
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