Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011). I really liked Alfredson’s earlier Let the Right One In, but that didn’t give me any preconceptions since I only realized this film came from the same director after I’d watched it. It’s definitely on the list of Movies That Aren’t for Me ... I have a hard time following the plots of complicated spy thrillers. But I’m not sure it was all my fault this time. It’s based on a novel by John le Carré which was once turned into a miniseries that ran for more than five hours. This movie is just a hair over two hours, which means an already byzantine plot is condensed beyond comprehension for someone like me who hadn’t read the book. This left me grasping for something to connect with, the obvious place being Gary Oldman’s performance, which was nominated for an Oscar. There were two problems here. First, at times, Oldman seemed to be doing a voice impersonation of Alec Guinness, who had played the role in the mini-series. Second, Oldman did a great job of capturing the quiet, almost matter-of-fact manner of George Smiley, the “anti-Bond”. But since I was already having difficulty maintaining interest in the film, Oldman’s performance, good as it was, merely added to my general sleepiness. A plot I couldn’t follow, a performance guaranteed to go mostly unappreciated by me ... like I say, a Movie Not for Me. (Oldman lost the Oscar to Jean Dujardin.) #309 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century. 6/10. For a “based on le Carré” movie I liked, try The Constant Gardener.
Design for Living (Ernst Lubitsch, 1933). 8/10.
Me and You and Everyone We Know (Miranda July, 2005). 7/10.