Oct. 3rd, 2011

alexandral: (The Painted Veil - Kitty China Day)
This was a rare occasion – we went to watch a movie with Mr.Alexander! He has a no-nonsense attitude towards films and TV , and a film has to be really good for him to watch. He is my litmus paper as far as films are concerned, so I was really happy that he liked “Tinker, Taylor..”



Starting with the best thing, the film was impeccably well-made, with great attention to detail. The usual big problem with USA and British spy films is their total disregard for foreign languages and people of foreign nationalities. Japanese people are always cast as Koreans (or Chinese) and vice versa. Mexican people are often cast as Spanish. Polish people are cast as Russians. The languages suffer badly too. I don’t know about other languages, but as far as Russian is concerned, in 99.999% of USA/British spy films the spies speak Russian terrible enough for any babushka from Moscow to uncover their identity. The state of Russian language in spy films and TV shows is often so bad that you can’t even understand it without subtitles ("Nikita" and "Salt", I am looking at you, and this is one of the reasons I am not very enthusiastic about the new Nikita).

May be no-one cares for this but my foreign self. But I often ponder why such an abhorring state of foreign languages is allowed to exist. Surely, there must be a reason for this. I can’t quite imagine a USA (or British) film director who won’t hope that her/his film will be shown in other countries. The most logical explanation I can see is "They do not care". But I care! The bad state of Russian language usually makes USA (and British) spy films ridiculous. And I don’t take "this is because of the costs" explanations seriously, because I am sure that Russian actors will jump to any chance to appear in USA films and I know that Russian actors don’t get paid as much as USA actors.

But it seems that a huge tectonic shift is happening, because as far as Russian language is concerned, “Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy” was perfect. They even employed Russian actors for the roles of Russians! This was such a surprise! The world is changing and I hope this is not just a fluke. Or may be this is just because the director Tomas Alfredson is Swedish? May be. In any case, "Tinker, Taylor .." had such a wonderful attention to every detail and such a fabulous visual feel that you were immersed in the 70s, the paranoia of the time almost palpable.

As far as acting is concerned, I liked Garry Oldman, with the only small note that he does seem to be one of those actors who play the same role in every film. But he is well overdue some serous recognition, so I hope he will get some awards for his role. But my personal favourite in this film was Mark Strong who was purely heart-breaking.

I guessed the identity of the Russian spy because it was quite obvious. vague spoilers )

The ending was fabulous and Mark Strong / Colin Firth OTP was incredible. Overall, this was a fabulous "thinking" film, the one to watch when you can give it the full attention (there were so many "blink and you miss it" moments) and both my husband and I loved it. From my own point of view, the lack of anti-Russian propaganda , and the fact that there were no "good" and "bad" sides in the struggle between the spy organizations were particular appreciated.

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January 2012

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