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Old January 27th, 2012, 05:29 PM   #1
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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Together with a theater full of patrons, I found it puzzling and a couple walked out, however this might help if you had strife ....

Observations on film art : TINKER TAILOR: A guide for the perplexed

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Old January 29th, 2012, 10:59 PM   #2
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

I'm a LeCarre' junkie, so I have read the book enought times that I could follow the film. It is (imho) one of the very best spy novels ever written, which is why it does't translate to the screen very well. It is too complex, too subtle, to work on the screen. The genius of the book is the intricate characterization of the many players, their personalites, histories, motivations. Trying to reduce this to a comprehensible screenplay is simply improbable. FWIW I loved the movie, but only because I knew what was happening. To someone who might not be familiar with the story, it would be impenetrable.

To make this post relevant: I think there is a lesson here for indy film-makers. Some get so involved with their story, know it so well, that they forget how it will play with someone seeing it for the first time. In editing my own humble pieces, I have always tried to play it back pretending I had never seen it before, to see if all the necessary bits were there. Amazing what I found I had left out....
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Old January 30th, 2012, 01:10 PM   #3
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Never read the book (or seen the TV show).

Loved the movie.

I admit at times I was confused but at the same time I knew that I was meant to be. Its the old unknown-knowns thing. The subject of the film deals with subterfuge, double agents, mysteries, riddles; so I liked the fact that the filmmakers decided to subject us to the same circumstance in which the protagonists were operating. It was a sophisticated ploy. Smiley is such a patient character you know that everything will make sense in the end, even if you have to catch up every now and then.

The ending had a brilliant and unexpected circularity to it. A real sucker-punch.

Excellent movie in every sense.
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Old February 6th, 2012, 01:59 PM   #4
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

I could see the movie really frustrating people who need to stay on top of the plot. I just kind of assumed during the parts that i was lost that i was supposed to be lost, and marveled at the acting, cinematography and costumes. A very well done film.
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Old February 15th, 2012, 08:51 AM   #5
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

I read the book a long time ago and loved the movie. I can see someone getting confused but knew it was part of the story. It really came together well in the end.
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Old February 15th, 2012, 10:28 AM   #6
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

It made think of "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold' movie from 1965, with Richard Burton, maybe because it was Burton or/and the writing so good, but it was an adaptation from the novel with the same name and by John le Carré as well. No bones there, however complex of a plot, an remarkable film.
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Old February 15th, 2012, 02:52 PM   #7
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

It was a very successful TV serial over here in ? the 1980s? Alec Guinness was Smiley. Enough time for the characters and plot to develop. Good supporting actors as well.


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Old March 22nd, 2012, 02:16 AM   #8
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

As a major reader of John LeCarre novels, (he spends a lot of time in character development to establish motivation, which then sets the plot) and I own on DVD Smile's People, Tinker Tailor Solder Spy and The Man who came in from the Cold, I thought the editing in this version was done poorly.

As all of LeCarre characters live in a world where no one can be trusted, there where to many scenes of characters looking blankly without the audience knowing why. Also the use of flashbacks in the film was confusing and jarring as the editor did not made clear that it was a flashback. That seems to be a directing mistake.

One minor issue is the were very few female characters - and with the few females that did make the final cut, the themes of sex and infidelity was immediately attached, and I a doubt the movie would appeal to a female audience at all.

The Alec Guinness TV version was much better. It is much closer to the way LeCarre writes.... each scene is crafted to reveal something new, thus the plot and suspense builds up over time to one grand final climax.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 06:48 AM   #9
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Ray,
there was a very subtle ploy by the director to show when the film went into flashback mode: Smileys glasses are different (distinctly different in fact). At the very beginning Smiley is seen buying new glasses after he is forced out of the Circus; when he wears those he is in the present, when he wears the older ones the scene is a flashback.
The camera focuses on his face a good deal, on his eyes specifically, as he is a spy who watches and observes (even the movies poster reflects this).
I think it was an intelligent move by the director, not a directing mistake (or editing mistake or that matter).

As a standalone movie I thought it worked very well. Maybe people who have read the book will come to it with different expectations however.
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Old August 28th, 2012, 11:18 AM   #10
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Agreed with Ray

The TV movie (and the whole miniseries) with Alec Guinness as Smiley is vastly superior (in my memory... I have not seen it since it aired... makes me sound really old age ;)
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