Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Given the stellar cast of this adaptation of the John le Carre novel, it definitely made my list of must-see movies. It's interesting to break down just how many of the actors in this spy thriller were also in the Harry Potter series: Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), John Hurt (Ollivander), Toby Jones (voice of Dobby), Ciaran Hinds (Aberforth Dumbledore) and Simon McBurney (voice of Kreacher). Of course it'd probably be more significant to have a list of British actors who HAVEN'T been in the Harry Potter series...

But as far that goes, the film also boast a non-Harry Potter trio of hotties in the Dorian Gray-esque Colin Firth, Tom Hardy and Mark Strong.

The story is slow and deliberate--a definite contrast to the gimmicks, gadgets and over-the-top action scenes of James Bond and other movies of that ilk. It's more like watching a game of chess unfold. I liked the more realistic portrayal of the "spy game." No Alias-style martial arts, no Mission Impossible improbable disguises. Just a methodical game of cat and mouse. The film was also very good at depicting the period--early 70s, Cold War.

I won't throw out any spoilers but I determined fairly quickly who the "Spy" would turn out to be and I was right. I can't say that Tinker Tailor Solider Spy kept me on the edge of my seat, but it was somewhat engrossing. The story of George Smiley, British agent, being kicked to the curb after years of loyal service, resonated too closely--but I wouldn't put this on my list of favorite 2011 movies. A bit low-key and plodding for my tastes, and perhaps a bit too stiff upper lip.

Oh, a bit heavy-handed with the title cards (seriously--someone needs to limit those to one second of screen time. Ugh.).

Edited to add: I forgot to mention that among all the action-thriller trailers was the preview of Wes Anderson's latest Moonrise Kingdom which looks to be the Wes Anderson-iest movie ever. With a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, Frances McDormand and usual suspect, Bill Murray, the trailer makes the flick look like a Wes Anderson parody. Picture Rushmore on steroids.

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