ARTYFACTS: Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, SPY!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, SPY!

I was brought up in this era, and travelled widely in the Soviet Union as well as visiting Budapest, Prague and East Berlin when the wall was up in the 70s. Curiously, I also knew an Eastern bloc spy – very well in fact, he was my mate, literally sharing a room with him at University. This has given me a sharp interest in cold war espionage.
So how was this movie? First the 'art direction' was superb, creating that muted, limited palette, sombre mood that is as important as the plot. Then there was the 'direction', a little confusing at times, but he stretched the spring slowly and steadily until it finally broke and the bits went flying. This was a masterclass in pace, barely a gear change in the whole film, just slowly, rising tension. It’s good to experience a spy movie without a single car chase, macho pose or blazing gun. Everything was finely measured and therefore all the more menacing.
There was a curious government funded advert before the film with a talking baby abusing its teenage mother. It was repulsive and an unnecessary attack on teenage mothers. In any case, there wasn’t a soul under the age of 25 in the ‘arthouse’ cinema (so hardly a hotbed of teenage sex), so it was a complete waste of money. No wonder targeted online advertising is thrashing these idiots.


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