Friday, August 3, 2012
Tinker Tailor Rocketeer Hitman
Seven hours seems about right for a relatively lengthy LeCarre novel about the intricacies of Cold War espionage in the 1960's and 1970's. This two-hour adaptation seems more like something made on a dare.
Most of the plot is still here. The acting is fine across the board, especially as the actors have to do a lot of heavy lifting with relatively few lines -- Gary Oldman probably did deserve his Oscar nomination for following Guinness in one of Guinness's signature roles and not embarrassing himself. And the details of Cold War espionage are generally fascinating. But...
Two hours? There are a lot of characters here, and only Oldman's George Smiley approaches being more character than character sketch. The movie looks terrific (the director previously helmed the excellent Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In), and the pacing is fine. But there's nothing and no one to care about here as a character one can feel much investment in. It's like a really high-toned adaptation of the Cliff's Notes for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Lightly recommended.
Tommy has some good moments taking the piss out of a bunch of vampires last seen during Ennis's run on John Constantine: Hellblazer (like H.P. Lovecraft, Ennis thinks vampires are stupid, though he's a lot more fictionally pro-active in that stance than HPL ever was) and finally getting to see some real, honest-to-god dinosaurs. But Tommy's war with the Mob also takes it physical and emotional toll.
Penciller McCrea and most-of-the-time inker Garry Leach do a great job on the art as always, their violence stylized without being glossy or attractive, their characters cartoony when they need to be and fairly realistic when the story calls for such a thing. Hyperviolence was rarely this much fun. Only one more volume to go! Highly recommended.