It’s with a heavy heart that I right this review. You should be warned.
The problem is this, I’m really quite fond of the Le Carré Smiley books, not to mention the late 70’s BBC dramatisation staring Alec Guinness.
So when I heard that they were going to make a new version starting Gary Oldman, John Hurt (and cast of dozens of top notch talent) I had mixed feelings. The amount of talent is impressive. But the film itself….
Like I mentioned before, I was a big fan of the original. So trying to squeeze half a dozen 60 minute episodes into a two hour movie, without destroying the plot, was always going to be an impossible task. And it’s turned out that way.
What’s prompted this review is the rather annoying “It’s the best spy film in years” meme that’s going around in the UK press. Frankly, I’ve got a pretty low opinion of Le Carré movies. The only decent one really being “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold”. But lest yey forget, here’s a reminder;
- The Constant Gardener
- The Looking Glass War
- Russia House
- The Deadly Affair (or rather Call for the dead)
And that’s not including the TV movies
- The Little Drummer Girl
- A Murder of Quality
Seriously, what a collection of interesting books and distinctly average movies.
Back to ttss.
To say the plot was rushed would be an understatement. So much so that key moving moments in the film are blasted by at breakneck speed until your left with the rather unsavoury feeling that you’ve just been witness to a film of expediency and not quality.
Oldman is unrecognisable as the fictional Smiley. Being neither fat, badly dressed or owl like. Peter Guillam is now gay. Which is bizarre because there’s a few plot points in the next books and potential movies regard his female conquests and eventual settling down. I’ve no idea why he’s now gay. It’s not like the film needed any further positive gay role models (Jim Prideaux is a homosexual). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not homophobic, it just makes no sense.
And in case you missed the rather obvious signs, Bill Haydon may as well have had a sign saying “It’s me”. The final reveal is therefore flat and really badly filmed. Like the director was embarrassed by it all by then.