Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
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Re: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)

#26 Post by eljacko » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:04 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:I'm going to have to watch it again, certainly, and I'm interested to see the Alec Guiness version, but it was a really satisfying experience.
I'm halfway through this version right now. While I haven't seen the new film and thus can't compare the two, I can say with certainty that it is quite the satisfying experience. The show's opening credits show the opening of a matroshka doll, which is what each episode feels like: a look into the next layer of the mystery. It sounds like it's much more relaxed compared to the film, but I think that's a good thing, as it gives the series more time to explain things. Also, I haven't yet finished an episode where I didn't want to immediately watch the next. Alec Guinness plays his role rather meekly, but as if he knows this weakness, and knows how to play it off of people, to get at what he needs.

I don't know if this version has the feeling of people getting lost in a job which no longer has the same meaning, but like i said, I'm only halfway through. If only I had the time right now to watch it all through at once!

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Re: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)

#27 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:59 am

I thought the movie was marvellous. Oldman doesn't speak a lot, but his physical presence adds a lot of depth to what is an intellectual performance. Lots of quiet moments where his eyes indicate what he's thinking or his body language oriented toward the next actor indicates how he's weighing their words. His voice is impeccable, as usual. The pacing is a slow burn and it pays off wonderfully with how much room is given to Oldman and company to get the characters moving. There is so much good acting where the characters shine whether or not we're seeing them as Smiley is observing them. This is a very satisfactory actors' film. It has to be as so much of it is the audience trying to see behind the mask or understand the motivations of the characters. I can't think of a weak performance. (Ciaran Hinds seems underused, sadly.) Now the look of the film itself is superb: dark, rundown, dirty, and tired. It all looks as if one of the darker tunes of Scott Walker will break out to cast an even more depressing pall over it all. The art direction team really knocked themselves out here. Excellent lighting as well. I think of Control's flat, Smiley's office where they conduct the search, and the safe house as great examples of the darkness and cold, tired look of the sets and period. The acting matches the surroundings so very well. I think of another spy thriller, MI4: Ghost Protocol, that also lit and decorated everything so well to set its tone (although obviously Cruise's film is much brighter and flashier than the English gloom of this one). Iglesias' score is a major highlight for me. It adds so much beauty to the film. It's certainly the best recent score I've heard since Dragon Tattoo. This is such a superb film. I'd love to watch it again. I look forward to reading the book as well.

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Re: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)

#28 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:46 pm

I don't imagine there's a correct answer to this, but I already have the Alec Guinness version in my kevyip, and am honour-bound to buy the new version because I'm married to someone madly in lust with Gary Oldman - so which should I watch first?

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Re: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)

#29 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:55 pm

For my money do the BBC version first if only to see how Oldman riffs on the Guinness interpretation.
In some ways you're stuck whatever way round because LeCarré himself said he couldn't get Guinness out of his mind when he came to write about Smiley afterwards and it may well be the case in reverse if you go with Oldman first. The BBC has the best tea stirring though

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Re: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)

#30 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:06 pm

My father watched both, and advised that I watch the Oldman version first- watched first, it seems like a satisfying and rounded narrative, but watched second, it feels a bit Cliffs' Notes. Or at least, so he said- I can certainly testify that the Oldman version works well on its own.

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Re: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)

#31 Post by Forrest Taft » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:23 pm

I went to the movies and saw the Oldman version when I was halfway through the Guiness version. Picked up Smiley's People on the way home from the theatre. This worked very well for me, and I found it a very intriguing experience watching these two very different versions of the same story in that "order". After that, I immediately started with Smiley's People, and it's first episode is among the very best hour of television I've ever seen. Rarely has a first episode gripped me as much as this one did. Fantastic, immersive storytelling. The rest of the show was also very good, but that first episode laid out it's plot details and set up the mystery in such a gripping way that the it reached a level of brilliance the other 5 episodes never quite managed to live up to.

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Re: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)

#32 Post by Mike_S » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:44 pm

The novel of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy actually has a very straightforward plot, probably simpler than that of The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. The TV series, good as it often is, takes it very, very slowly and creates an impression of complexity where little really exists. The whole of episode 2, for example, takes fifty minutes or so to pass on very little information. That it remains gripping is largely due to the quality of the production.

I loved the film but I get the impression that it hasn't been nearly as much of a success in America as it was in the UK, either critically or with audiences.

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Re: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)

#33 Post by John Cope » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:45 pm

Bordwell's thorough and excellent guide to the film and its source material. I will say, for the record, that I thought the plot of the movie was actually remarkably clear and quite lucidly presented and I was surprised by that given all the fuss made about how unclear it was. Ultimately then a real tribute to Alfredson and his methods.

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Re: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011)

#34 Post by HistoryProf » Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:18 pm

I found the new film to be most excellent, and among my favorites of the year, if not the best. Gary Oldman really impressed me in a way he never has before. His performance is at once subdued and dynamic, simmering through the cold war patina with a depth I wouldn't have guessed he had in him. I love the genre, specifically many of the great films coming out of the mid 1960s through the 1970s, so this was a real treat for me. Can't wait for the blu ray in a month to watch it again.

My father watched the Alec Guinness version on PBS in 1980 and I remember it the way you remember something as a child - more about how much my father loved it (he owned everything Le Carre wrote) than the series itself. I've almost bought it a dozen times in the last year, and bit the bullitt after seeing the new film. on Episode 2 now and it's a different animal, but i'n definitely sucked in for the long haul tonight. If anything, seeing the slow burn of this makes me appreciate the skill with which Alfredson distilled it into a two hour film and retained both the feel/pacing and the full story. Both are damned near masterpieces.

Of course a week after I buy it I see Acorn has announced a blu-ray of the original will be coming in late April. Though if they didn't do any more work on it I can't see the point - the Acorn DVD is practically VHS quality. They also are apparently never going to put out the 315 minute uncut UK version, as the blu ray is also listed as having the US 290 minute run-time. Can anyone speak to what we poor Americans missed out on?

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