Monday, January 16, 2012

Movie Review Monday - Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy centers around George Smiley—recently fired from the British Secret Service agency known as the Circus—and his efforts to bring to light a Russian mole ensconced in the highest echelon of the agency.

The movie is a tense, low-key but high stakes story of intrigue. The acting is phenomenal, and all actors, supporting and star, deliver. So why 4.0 stars and not 5.0?

An unseasoned moviegoer or those who have not read the book may have difficulty following the plot line, as at least half of the story is told through flashbacks that are relatively seamless. Having read the book (okay, most of the book), I had no trouble following the threads, but I couldn’t help but wonder if it would be as easily followed for those who hadn’t read the book.  For example, there is a three second scene of one of the supporting characters dead in a hospital bed, but if I hadn’t read the book, I might not have known that. Maybe he’s just unconscious? Maybe he had an allergic reaction to his raspberry Jell-O? Does it even matter to the plot of the story? This is of course a primary peril of books adapted to the screen, unless they’re relatively short books. Screenwriters must make tough decisions on what scenes and characters to include, and those that get the axe. I think for the most part the screenwriter’s did a great job with their choices.

Overall, I feel the greatest strength of the movie is the symmetry and the human dramas that unfold throughout, whereas the weakness is the overall structure that is a veritable pogo stick across the timeline of the tale. Well worth watching, but the movie is probably better suited to those that have read the book, as opposed to a stand alone story.


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