Monday, February 27, 2012

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

I haven't seen The Artist yet.  I also haven't seen The Descendents, or Hugo, or The Tree of Life, or War Horse, or The Help, or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  So basically, I'm a loser when it comes to watching the nominees for best picture, though if you're paying attention you'll note that I saw Midnight in Paris and Moneyball (go A's!).

I did, however, see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and was blown away. I thought Gary Oldman's performance was incredible.  I kept thinking, "How is it he's able to convey what's going on inside when the camera is on the back of his head?"

It may have helped that not terribly long ago I heard the audiobook of TTSS (all umpteen hours of it) so I had an inkling going in what was happening--though I did not remember who the mole was.  It may have also helped that I'd never seen the TV version with Alec Guiness.

I thought they did a fabulous job adapting the book.  They shuffled things around in such a way that helped compress the plot without losing too much (though a couple characters, notably Ciaran Hinds' Roy Bland, got short shrift), and that still allowed the movie to seem leisurely, without too much information compressed in too short a time.  It also added one element to the personal life of one of the characters that I thought was revelatory both about that character and about that period in history. 

And can I just say: art direction!  Oh my goodness!  That whole 1970's Cold War Bureaucratic Bleak was amazing.  I don't know why that didn't get more love; I thought it was incredible.

A warning: there are some strong scenes of torture and violence.  It was not a bloodless and cerebral film by any means.

And now I'd better go and catch up on all the movies I've missed.

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