Sunday, February 12, 2012

At the top of the circus


The adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a remarkable film, a million miles away from the glib cynical story package that is Hugo, and hence nowhere near the running to win sheafs of Oscars (although Gary Oldman, pictured in this link in a rather disturbingly anodyne series of portraits of the nominees on the Oscars' official website, is nominated as Actor In A Leading Role; it's also up for Music (Original Score) and Writing (Adapted Screenplay). FYI, Transformers (Dark of the Moon), is also up for three).

Recent anecdotal evidence reveals twentysomethings' verdict on Blade Runner, arguably one of the best films ever made, as having been that it's "slow" and "boring". "Tinker Tailor..." stands no chance against this sort of ruthlessness: if you like your excitement packaged and delivered to you in two-minute bursts, go and see "Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol" (itself, particularly in an iMAX cinema, an incredibly enjoyable, albeit ultimately of course completely shallow, experience).

On the other hand, if you want to see beautifully restrained performances, particularly from Gary Oldman, about whom John le Carré apparently said that his whole acting life has been leading up to this role: to being able to play it with such masterful understatement, then you must see this film. You can smell the 1970s emanating from the screen. The music is essential but unobtrusive. And not a single gesture is either wasted or hysterical.

2 comments:

Ally G said...

I agree. One of the best films I've seen in years. Oldman was incredible but the acting was uniformly superb. Oldman apparently came in for criticism as he played it differently from the Alec Guinness incarnation and that, seemingly lacking warmth/charm/charisma, it was therefore difficult to see how Smiley could have engendered such loyalty from his colleagues. But I can definitely see how Oldman's Smiley could have done so - his composure and integrity: exactly the sort of person you would trust in a place like that.

I also loved the score - by Alberto Iglesias, Almodovar's co-collaborator. It's an important element and so beautifully done, such restraint and melancholy.

LottieP said...

I agree, Ally the score was beautiful, understated, just the right amount of menace in the undertow. It reminded me of the Inception score but with much less of a "look at me!" touch.