REVIEW: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Written by: Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan (screenplay), John le Carré (novel)
Starring: Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Colin Firth and John Hurt

If you’re not prepared to donate every ounce of your attention to this film, then do not bother watching it.  Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is one of the twistiest films to come along in years.

Like he did in adapting the vampire thriller Let the Right One In, though, he takes those narrative thrills and restrains them within his deliberately arranged frames until the tension boils over.  There is only one “action” sequence in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and it’s the rather clumsily constructed assassination of a spy (Mark Strong) sent to Hungary to find out the identity of a mole within MI6 (the British equivalent of the CIA).

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Let the Right One In

Image courtesy of Available Images

Let the Right One In
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Written by: John Ajvide Lindvist (novel & screenplay)
Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragner, and Henrik Dahl.

In the age of Twilight, the once mythical mythology of the vampire has been demystified and defanged in order to appeal to tweens and easily-offended soccer moms.  Thankfully Tomas Alfredson sticks it to Bella and Edward in this bloody tale of a tween boy and the vampire he befriends.

Let the Right One In is a meticulously crafted work of art.  Each camera angle is deliberate in its haunting beauty, and each sentence  delves deeper into the characters or the story.   Nothing is wasted, a sign of a great independent filmmaker at work.

The story is kept simple, though it is filled with allegory relating to Swedish socialism.  Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is a young boy who gets picked on at school because he is weak and timid.  He has no friends until a girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson) moves in next door and starts showing up after dark to help him solve his Rubik’s Cube.  The charm of these early scenes  resonate because of their simplicity and also because of the darkness that follows.

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