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September 29th, 2011

tinker, tailor, soldier, battleaxe

Ha! it's gone midnight so this can be tomorrow's post. Tonight I went to see Tinker Tailor SOldier Spy. I think it's the first film I've seen in a cinema in about two years.

If, like me, you are a middle-aged curmudgeon convinced that the country is going to the dogs and all our news, arts and cultural output is being produced by the witless beneficiaries of meejya nepotism for the victims of an education system that enshrines cretinous ignorance as a human right, GO AND WATCH THIS FILM.

It is beautifully true to the book, matches - betters, even - the slow-building intensity of the justly lauded TV series, and is shot without recourse to a single visual cliche. Every performance is pitch perfect, and there are no fading USian stars struggling to claim some sort of credibility by mangling a British regional accent, and no one has stupid transatlantic luminous teeth and no one is unnecessarily gorgeous nor gratuitiously naked. It actually looks like the seventies, all the way through, because they've got the atmosphere and colours right, not just the hair and cars. Gary Oldman is perfect. I want to watch the TV series again, to compare it, though I suspect Alec Guiness will seem a tiny bit the-RSC-does-the-cold-war now. Someone I can't name without giant spoilering is surprisingly sexy in it. He's never done it for me before; he's never played an adulterous, shirt-lifting traitor before, though.

It relies on suggestion and inference. It expects the audience to be intelligent enough to join up the dots. It's the perfect antidote to CSI: Wherever. I've never quite forgiven the person who suggested I'd like CSI. It's glossy, unbelievable, repetitive and hopelessly reductive. If you are too stupid to imagine a key grinding in a lock, they will give you a little CGI cartoon to explain it to you. Surely it owuld be cheaper to write some vaguely intelligent dialogue than to keep having all those annoying little cartoons?

I came home to a cheering bunch of gorgeously fragrant lilies, too. And eight litres of soya milk. Not such a bad day, after all.

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