Warning: Illegal string offset 'sidebar_change' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 4

Warning: Illegal string offset 'sb_primary' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 5

Warning: Illegal string offset 'sb_secondary' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 6

Warning: Illegal string offset 'sidebar_swap' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 7

Warning: Illegal string offset 'sl_pos' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 9

Warning: Illegal string offset 'primary_width' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 10

Warning: Illegal string offset 'secondary_width' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 11

Warning: Illegal string offset 'special_width' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 12

Warning: Illegal string offset 'back_change' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 15

Warning: Illegal string offset 'background_color' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 16

Warning: Illegal string offset 'background_url' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 17

Warning: Illegal string offset 'background_repeat' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 18

Warning: Illegal string offset 'header_change' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 19

Warning: Illegal string offset 'header2_change' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 20

Warning: Illegal string offset 'header_url' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 21

Warning: Illegal string offset 'header_position' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 22

Warning: Illegal string offset 'header_position2' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 23

Warning: Illegal string offset 'header_url2' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 24

Tinker Tailor

I loved this movie.  My love affair with John Le Carre began with his books — Tinker Tailor and Smiley’s People.  I watched the 7 part BBC mini-series with Alex Guinness, and that was amazing.  Then last night I saw this film which comes in at 2 hours and 7 minutes, and manages to tell this story — the search for a mole in the heart of British intelligence — brilliantly.

How did they do it?  How did they take something that had been a multiple episode mini-series and reduce it to two hours?  They did it because the screenwriter and the director understood the medium — film — in which they were working.  They let images, visuals tell the story, and dispensed with large amounts of dialogue.

Gary Oldman is phenomenal as George Smiley.  What was remarkable was that we were at least fifteen minutes into the movie, before Oldman uttered a single word.  But we understood everything — that something had gone terribly wrong in Hungary.  That Smiley and his boss were forced into early retirement as a result of this cock-up, that Smiley has an absent wife, his loneliness and sense of loss.

I have to talk about the look of this movie.  It was bleak office spaces and soot stained buildings.  The lighting heightened the sense of decay and melancholy, and they used music very sparingly.   The director let the actor’s faces replace dialogue.  He could only get away with this because he had terrific actors, but it was an example of how an actor can save a lot of words.

They also used visuals to sell the fact that Smiley has won and been restored to a place of honor at the end of the film because he was in a new, crisply pressed suit that fits correctly, his walk and stance indicate a man vindicated.  Watch for it, it was great.  All through the rest of the film Oldman’s attire and carriage indicated a man beaten down by life.

I have to give a shout out to Benedict Cumberbatch, our new Sherlock Holmes in the updated version.  He was great as the young agent, Peter who assists Smiley in his hunt for the mole.  I have to say, I think he looks better as a blond rather than the dark brunette.

If I were to ever teach a screenwriting course this is another film I would use as an example of using the strengths of this medium.   As readers may know another film I would use would be The Hangover as an example of setting things up in the front of a film, and then paying them off by the end. 

At any rate Tinker Tailor is great, but you do have to concentrate, which for me just added to the enjoyment.

3 Responses to Tinker Tailor

  • Ian says:

    I realized last night that one minor change was when/where Ricky explains the backstory of his adventure in Istanbul. I believe that in the book (though I could be misremembering) it comes out as soon as he returns, on the night when Smiley and Peter Guillam find out Ricky has returned, at the house run by Circus “lamplighters”. Instead they pushed Ricky’s tale a little later, which perhaps enabled them to get the plot up and running a little faster?

  • Melindas says:

    I don’t remember the book that well, but that makes sense. Ricky’s tale seemed to come at exactly the moment when I needed that information. I also liked how cold Smiley was. He promises to get out Ricky’s Russian lady friend even though he knows Irina is dead.

  • Stephen Smoogen says:

    Well I like the fact that he puts the words clearly:

    I will do everything humanly possible.

    Which is true. He could probably exchange the mole for her body, but that is all humanly possible. It was cold calculated and what the agent needed to hear to get the job done, and it wasn’t a lie or something that would make things worse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Appearances
Social Media
Friend me on FacebookFollow me on Twitter