Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

We couldn’t wait. We saw the earlier version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, you know, the one with Alec Guiness, and we couldn’t wait to see this new version, with Gary Oldman playing the Smiley role. He was awesome.

The LeCarre’ books featuring George Smiley are grim and grey, and the opening captures that exactly. The entire movie has a bureaucratic, institutional bleakness, with all the power plays, the petty snobberies, the jockeying for position that these bureaucracies seem to nurture. The only times in the movie when there is color and life is the annual bureau party, once done entirely in Russian, once in French.

The movie is faithful to the book, which I think I need to go back and read once again. It all seems so historical now.

One of the things we noticed was that the theatre was utterly quiet as the movie progressed. A lot of the action is in the mind, figuring things out, and trying not to get caught, so the suspense is of the subtle kind, not the car-crashing and jumping off buildings kind. It was as if the entire theatre were holding its breath; noticeable because of its rarity.

We were oddly jangled as we left the theatre, and over dinner we talked about how we never thought we would be obsolescent, but the Cold War has passed; the soldiers of today weren’t even alive when the Berlin Wall came down and the Iron Curtain parted and the cars flowed east. Life goes on.

There were several quotes, one that made us laugh was spies talking about recruiting other nationalities “You can hire an Arab but you can’t buy ’em.”

January 8, 2012 - Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Arts & Handicrafts, Books, Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Counter-terrorism, Cultural, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Political Issues

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