I heard about this movie from a preview on TV. It was based on a book by a world-renowned spy-thriller author. I’ve read some of his work. He’s a bit of an acquired taste; you have to stick with it for a few chapters until you get into the swing of the story. I’ve seen other movies inspired by his books, and I liked them well enough. Let’s give this one a try.
We started the movie. The credits rolled—there were several of our favorite actors in this one. Good. Fade in. That’s when the trouble began.
For the first forty-five minutes, there wasn’t a scene that lasted longer than fifteen seconds. Now, I understand brevity and lean writing. Usually it keeps the pace fast and intense. In this case it befuddled us. The lighting in these scenes was dark and shadowed—typically employed as a way to build mystery or suspense. For us middle-aged folk, it took us the whole scene just to figure out which actor it was. Oh, it’s the man with the limp… and cut to next shot.
The dialog was sparse, and the camera seemed to focus on details that had nothing to do with the course of the plot. Three men in a car, discussing government security, were swatting at a bee. Were we supposed to listen to what they said? Were we supposed to watch the bee? Was the bee going to sting one of them?
Then came the flashbacks. Is this a memory? Yes, because that guy just died in the last scene. Oh yeah.
We stuck it out to the end of the movie. The bad guy turned out to be the one I suspected at the beginning. Well, once I figured out what was going on—sort of. I’m still not quite sure about what happened to the other suspects. They didn’t show that part, only that the good guy was the only one left at the table at the end.
This movie got great critical reviews. Hunh? Maybe I’m simple, but I didn’t understand. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Why? I tried to like it, but I just couldn’t.
That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.