I don’t think I’d ever seen so much hype and advertisement for a movie as I’d seen for Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The way that people buzzed on about the movie, and the acting, and everything else made me think that it was one of those movies you just knew was going to sweep at the Oscars, or at the very least win “Best Picture” the most sought after award. As was the case, I went against my normal “don’t go in with expectations attitude” and went in to the movie with really high expectations.
And thus, I was shot down. Miserably. It wasn’t a “bad film”. Not at all. It just wasn’t what I would have considered worthy of all the hype it received. By a long-shot. It was claimed to have been some of the best writing for a movie in quite awhile, as well as to completely rival, and from what I understood, blow the 007 Bond films out of the water. In an age where so many of our youth’s “best films” are so jammed pack of action and special affects, and our notions of spies being derived from James Bond, Burn Notice, and the likes filled with reckless abandonment for other people’s property and big explosions, etc., etc., it’s very easy to write what I’m saying off as “it just wasn’t spectacular enough for you.” Unfortunately that is not the case in this particular situation.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy starts extremely slow. I admired the attempt to cut down on useless dialogue and focus on the actors actually acting and driving the plot, but when it got to be five minutes into the movie and nothing had been said whatsoever, I found myself trying to stop myself from falling asleep. However, the writers Peter Straughan & Bridget O’Connor did a spectacular job of using the least amount of dialogue possible, which effectively brings up the drama and suspense of the movie. Excellent writing in that regard. Though, I felt the film severely lacked in clarity throughout as we were trying to figure out when and where something was happening and who was what and who and why. It was probably intended, obviously as a spy movie, to keep things mysterious for the audience, and to have that air of it in the movie, but it was more just absolute confusion rather than cinematic mystery.
In terms of cinematography, I’d say it was absolutely brilliantly shot. Alfredson did a great job of directing the DP and LD respectively with how they set each scene. I would love to simply be able to have been a fly on the wall at the production meetings and on set as they came up with their shot lists and schemes.
I don’t want to bore you with anything else I have to say about this one movie, except that out of 10, I’d probably give it a 7. It left me luke-warm at the end of the day.