Thursday, 2 February 2012

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy". A Review Of The 2011 Film Now On BLU RAY.


"…Tinker Tailor...Bored Me Rigid Sir...Except For…”

There's a sequence in this dreadfully slow and boring movie that's worth bigging up because it's better than five-stars. I'd even go as far as saying that it's a serious contender for a top-ten placing in the best 'acting' ever put on screen. Gary Oldman has been almost comatose cold for most of the movie (as befits his character) - but then about halfway through the dense unfolding plot - he sits down with Benedict Cumberbatch (how good is he) at his home with a bottle of spirits and both get quietly blotto. Loosened up and now distinctly human, George Smiley (Oldham's MI5 character) then regales a story to Cumberbatch about how he met and sussed out a fanatical Russian spy. Oldham isn't just good in it - he's absolutely sensational. And the camera barely comes off him for maybe six or seven minutes. It's a huge amount of dialogue to remember and stay in the moment as he recounts it. If you're wondering why he was Oscar nominated - this extraordinary segment is surely the reason why.

Mark Strong puts in the best performance of his career too - there are times when I swear you can literally see what his character is thinking - beautifully subtle work. Colin Firth and Tom Hardy are superb also. The rest of the top-notch cast are the cream of British actors - an A-list to die for - and all honour that. But as you've probably gathered from a slew of one-star reviews (some of them even openly hostile) - "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" has still somehow managed to feel like having your teeth pulled - and without the payoff either.

And this is before you have to contend with the dire WASHED-OUT LOOK of the BLU RAY PRINT. It tries to ape Seventies "French Connection" like grittiness and it's just awful. It absolutely wrecks 80% of the scenes - blocking - blurriness. I know it's supposed to be a seedy tale about seedy men in a seedy business - but it just feels like amateur hour - you think you're watching some crappy pirate video.

As I say - it isn't 'all' deathly dreary offices, grey filing cabinets and Jacobs Cream Crackers as some reviewers have tried to claim - there are genuine moments of greatness in here. It's just that there aren't enough of them - and the main bulk of the feature is a stone cold drag (intentional or not).

Still - good luck on the night Mister Oldman - you thoroughly deserve your nomination and a win. I just wish the film you got it for aroused the same level of affection...

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