Hub review, bird face

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Hub review, bird face

Post by Hubilub on Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:24 am

Doesn't it sort of look like Gary Oldman is wearing some sort of female lipstick in this poster? Or at least that he's doing the duck-face that all the bleach-blonde bitches who coat their lips with vaseline do? Point is he looks frekkin creepy on that poster. Doesn't get much better in the film either, I'm tellin' ya that.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the attempt of Swedish Filmmaker Whateverwhocares, famous for that vampire film with a little girl sucking off a little boy or something, to broaden his horizons and become internationally famous. The problem is that he decided to make a film based on a book that had already been adapted previously in the 70s. Now while it's perfectly okay to make your own adaption for something, you have to keep in mind that the adaption we're talking about is the 7-hour long critically acclaimed television series starring motherfucking Alec Guinness


The Alec Guinness that was so good as the main character of George Smiley that the author himself stated that every consecutive novel starring said character was completely influenced by Guinness' portrayal. Gary Oldman needs to turn out one hell of a performance to make this film feel even warranted. Does he succeed?

Fuck no

The story: At the very top of British Intelligence there is a mole. The only person who can find him is George Smiley, retired super spy and former member of the Circus, the leading group of MI6. By using the limited resources he's been provided by the British state, he conducts a series of interviews and investigations that lead him closer and closer to the answer of the question: Which one of the four people at the very top is the mole?

The tv-series handled the story brilliantly, but then again, they had an upper hand. They had 7 hours to tell the story, and no pressure from the art-fags in hollywood to use fancy directing, instead relying on dead simple use of the camera in order to let it be held up by their actors.

Speaking of the actors, Alec Guinness isn't the only one turning in the performance of a lifetime. Each and everyone of the people in the series is perfect and perfectly British, from the helpful sidekick of Peter Guillam to the traumatized ex-spy of Jim Prideux.

The film faces problems right at the start. It only has 2 hours. Hollywood forces it to adopt a culturally and nationally diverse cast of characters. To win an Oscar you're expected to spin the camera around non-stop for 2 minutes. And it does nothing to overcome them.

What made both the book and the tv-series perfect were that they could take it slow and focus on characters and relationships. The movie has no time for that. Exposition flows by faster than the speed of sound, and even faster is the character introductions. The art direction causes the MI6 headquarters to look phony and unrealistic (a huge warehouse with bunker-like "portable" rooms inside it, as opposed to the normal building used in the tv-series) and the direction regularly adopts "artsy" camera angles.

Not only that, but the film constantly goes out of its way to do things different to the series, never for the better, mostly for the worst. Scenes are either put in different order, handled with the wrong tone, exempt from the film entirely, or completely rewritten so that the washed down script works. The worst offender is when the movie replaces the iconic flashback from the tv-series where Smiley tells of his encounter with Russia's most dangerous spy with a monologue by Gary Oldman, and to make it look artsy they focus the camera entirely on his face and nothing else.

Gary Oldman, by the way, gives out a monotone and dull George Smiley. What made Guinness so good was that his Smiley was a person first and a spy second. He often smiled, sometimes even looking amused by the great mystery he was on the way of solving, he interacted with people in a believable way, as if he had indeed known them for many years. Yet when he needed to be serious he was the most menacing character in the entire room. His nature as a spy lied deep beneath the surface, and only came out when it was required.

Oldman instead does the opposite, having the spy on the outside and person on the inside. This leads to him being expressionless in a majority of the scenes in the film. And of course, when you're pressed for time and want to prove that you actually have deep characters, the only way a Hollywood director knows how to do so is by making him a tragic character. That's why, whenever Oldman shows any signs of human emotions, they're either anxiety or depression. Alec's Smiley could show these emotions too, but they were much more natural, and fit with the story much better.

But the biggest fault of the film lies deep within its core. In two hours, it needs to tell a lot of things in a short amount of time. But because it doesn't want to look frantic, it regularly includes slow-paced scenes for no good reason other than to establish that yes, this is an intelligent film, just look at how slow it is. Pointless scenes like showing Gary Oldman swim in a lake or trying on glasses would not bother oneself so much if it wasn't for the fact that these scenes waste time that could have been spent on exposition. In the end, the effect is very jarring, giving the audience a film that is both much too frantic, but at the same time much too slow.

TTSS is only an average film, despite of what the critics say. It's leading role does nothing with its protagonist, the supporting cast don't feel like they're in the England of the 70s, the directing is unnecessarily complex and the story is poorly handled. If you want to watch a terrific spy film, go instead and rent the 1979 television version, and while you're at it rent the sequel too, titled Smiley's People. And give a big fuck you to Hollywood on the way, for not being any good.

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Re: Hub review, bird face

Post by Akariking93 on Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:15 am

Now that you mention it, he does look like he's wearing some sort of weird Dr. Frankenfurter shade of black lipstick on the poster.

Anyway, I must highly disagree here.

I personally LOVED this movie. Personal favourite of the past year and I'd easily give it a 10/10 but I will admit it doesn't hold up compared to the BBC version. Alec Guinness was a god as an actor and his Smiley was certainly superior but that doesn't mean Oldman's portrayal was poor.

I quite liked his take on it and felt it fit with the story. As someone who's both seen the original and read the book, I can understand the way they handled it though I do get your criticisms.

I must mention this though... the director is Swedish. The guy who did Let the Right One In. So... no Hollywood there, if I'm not mistaken >.<
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Re: Hub review, bird face

Post by Hubilub on Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:40 am

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the attempt of Swedish Filmmaker Whateverwhocares, famous for that vampire film with a little girl sucking off a little boy or something"

In my opinion he tries to be very Hollywood in this one. This is NOT a Swedish-looking film.

I probably wouldn't have disliked this film so much if it wasn't for the fact that every single scene in the film is inferior to its television counterpart. I don't feel that there are connections between the characters, and there's too much Hollywood over everything. Like when Tarr meets Irina. It feels much more natural in the series than the film, where there's basically just a montage to romantic music and then they're done.

The movie was too focused on being appealing to the Oscar crowd to worry about tone. Compare the tone of this to, say, the Ipcress File. It doesn't really feel like a spy film set in the 70s. The settings and surroundings are all really weird, and a film like this shouldn't have such complicated directing.

And like I said, nobody feels British. Except John Hurt. 70s Britons have a feel to them. In this film, we have a ginger (Guillam), an 80s greaser (Tarr), a Swede (Esterhase), an Irish dude (Bland), some bald dwarf (Alleline), and some fluffy posh dude (Hayden). But no true Britons. Mark Strong maybe, but since Prideux is traumatized he doesn't really act British at all.

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Re: Hub review, bird face

Post by Akariking93 on Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:08 am

I can give you that, certainly. In comparison to the original, there's virtually no justice done but I feel, in my own personal fucked up way, that the tonal shifts they took from book, to series, to film worked out well in its own right.

Perhaps it was a bit to Hollywood inspired or trying to pander to an Oscar crowd but I still enjoyed it more than I did any other film. That's saying a lot since Drive came out this year too Razz
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Re: Hub review, bird face

Post by Hubilub on Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:22 am

DRIVE WAS BEST

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Re: Hub review, bird face

Post by Furburt on Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:52 am

I was going to defend the film, but then I realised I don't care and went off for a walk.

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Re: Hub review, bird face

Post by Akariking93 on Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:42 am

Well played, sir.

And yes, Drive was awesome
Second best though ;3
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