Thursday, December 22, 2011

complex or stupid? (lyn)

The BAFTA screeners are arriving now.  I get multiple packages a week with DVD’s of new movies, some not even released yet.  So tonight Ellen and her husband Peter cover over to watch Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  They bring their teen son who was a football colleague of Alexander’s.  The boys quickly decide they’d rather go out than hang around with their parents.  They leave.  But not before I grab my camera.

I serve total junk food:  lo-cal popcorn, chocolate-covered pomegranates, and two kinds of cookies.  Ellen brings wine.  We don’t sit down to watch the movie until 9 or so.

Ellen is a producer at NBC, and she and her husband are writers.  All of us are well-educated and above average in intelligence.  The movie starts, and within five minutes we are lost.  The movie takes place in different countries, goes back and forth in time, constantly introduces new characters, and seems to follow multiple disjointed and unrelated subplots.  Ellen seems to follow things longer than Peter and I, but then she falls asleep and Peter and I are totally lost.  By the time the movie ends, dead people are no longer dead, resolutions are uninspiring, and the reveal of the spy elicits a tepid, eh, response.

My boredom with the movie seems inversely proportionate to the amount of candies I keep eating.  Around 11 the movie ends, Ellen wakes up, we all agree that it is one of the most complicated-hard-to-follow movies we have ever seen.  We can’t believe that it actually got made, that stars agreed to be in it, that a studio chose to distribute it, and that some marketer got stuck promoting it.

After they leave, I go online to read the reviews.

New York Times
Dread throbs like a heartbeat in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” a superb new adaptation of the 1974 spy novel by John le Carré.

Wall Street Journal 
The manifold pleasures of this remarkable film are cool, but intense.

Entertainment Weekly
A thriller that's a captivating intellectual puzzle doesn't come along very often. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, an adaptation of John le Carré's 1974 novel of Cold War espionage games, is a puzzle of a highly rarefied order.

LA Times
The question at the heart of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" is simplicity itself: Is there a Soviet secret agent at the very highest echelons of British intelligence? Getting to the answer, however, couldn't be more deliciously, thrillingly, brilliantly complex.
I crawl into bed feeling stupid.

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