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post #101 of 143

I don't think Cylon is actually reading my posts.

post #102 of 143

For what it's worth, yes, we have the benefit of hindsight now, and the stakes were high at the time. I certainly agree that, for instance, arming the Muhajadeen, something that came back to bite us in the ass big-time, was probably something that seemed like a good idea at the time. Hell, it might not even have hurt us if America had cleaned up its mess afterwards. That was the real problem in many cases: not the actions themselves, but the arrogance of using all the other countries on the board like chess pieces, and fucking them over the instant it served the US's purposes. Even as a strategy, it was dumb, because it was tremendously short-sighted. People were lining up to get into bed with the US, they could have afforded to be a little magnanimous to their allies. But much of the time, America didn't seem to act like it had allies, just countries who were useful to its purposes.

 

At any rate, it's worth noting that the cold war had plenty of detractors at the time, too, and there were people who were trying to be objective who got shouted down in what was pretty patently self-interest. The reason I cited Team B was that it flew in the face of conventional wisdom and a lot of sober analysis, but it got picked up on because it served the interests of a few. This is where we stop saying "they were good people who made a bad call" and start passing judgment on people who dick around with world security. It's not that hard to tell the difference. If you stand to make shitloads of money from a political decision that harms a lot of other people, you're kind of an asshole. If you're consolidating your power by committing treason and undermining attempts to end a war so you can get elected, as Nixon did, you're kind of an asshole. If you try to overthrow FDR and set up a fascist fucking dictatorship, you're kind of an asshole. You can't excuse these things by saying "well they had different opinions on what was best for everyone." No, they were self-evidently assholes. I don't need magic goggles to see that.

post #103 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurenOrtega View Post

Dude? You are better than this.


Quote:

Originally Posted by The Prankster View Post

I don't think Cylon is actually reading my posts.


Come on guys, I even used an Emoticon to show I was joking....

 

post #104 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Prankster View Post

For what it's worth, yes, we have the benefit of hindsight now, and the stakes were high at the time. I certainly agree that, for instance, arming the Muhajadeen, something that came back to bite us in the ass big-time, was probably something that seemed like a good idea at the time. Hell, it might not even have hurt us if America had cleaned up its mess afterwards. That was the real problem in many cases: not the actions themselves, but the arrogance of using all the other countries on the board like chess pieces, and fucking them over the instant it served the US's purposes. Even as a strategy, it was dumb, because it was tremendously short-sighted. People were lining up to get into bed with the US, they could have afforded to be a little magnanimous to their allies. But much of the time, America didn't seem to act like it had allies, just countries who were useful to its purposes.

 

 


I wish I could remember where I read this (it was years ago), but back in the early 80's the CIA started supplying arms to the Muhajadeen, culminating in their providing Stinger Missiles. Stingers were the ultimate in hand held anti-craft missiles. The CIA was very strict in who got the weapons, they were carefully registered and tracked. Then Congress found that supporting Afghan Rebels was a great political issue, and turned on the money spigot big time. Long story short, Stingers were deployed without being properly tracked, all sorts of weapons got into the hands of dubious players, most likely including bin Laden.
 So one could argue that this was a case where the operational aspects got out of control.

 

I agree that we could have and should have provided more support to the Afghans after the Soviets left. But then again, one could reasonably accuse the US of "nation building", which also has connotations of Imperialism.

 

I agree with you on the often short sightedness of US Foreign policy. Some of that is inherent in our political system, which changes at the top every 4-8 years.

 


Edited by Cylon Baby - 2/8/12 at 6:15pm
post #105 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Prankster View Post
At any rate, it's worth noting that the cold war had plenty of detractors at the time, too, and there were people who were trying to be objective who got shouted down in what was pretty patently self-interest. The reason I cited Team B was that it flew in the face of conventional wisdom and a lot of sober analysis, but it got picked up on because it served the interests of a few. This is where we stop saying "they were good people who made a bad call" and start passing judgment on people who dick around with world security. It's not that hard to tell the difference. If you stand to make shitloads of money from a political decision that harms a lot of other people, you're kind of an asshole. If you're consolidating your power by committing treason and undermining attempts to end a war so you can get elected, as Nixon did, you're kind of an asshole. If you try to overthrow FDR and set up a fascist fucking dictatorship, you're kind of an asshole. You can't excuse these things by saying "well they had different opinions on what was best for everyone." No, they were self-evidently assholes. I don't need magic goggles to see that.

 
Well sure the cabal who wanted to kill FDR and replace him with a hand picked General were assholes (said General turned them in after they approached him. The General = not an asshole!). Does that same term apply to the CEO's of General Dynamics in the 1950's-2000's? They sure made a lot of money making weapons. I've no doubt they lobbied Congress to increase Defense spending and nix attempts to cut budgets. And a lot of their Execs were ex-Military.

 

That's were we disagree (I think) Prankster. You are painting a pretty broad "asshole" brush, whereas I prefer a "asshole pencil" and a larger group of people who simply disagree.

 

Back to Le Carre: it's interesting that in his earlier novels his villains (Karla, pretty much all the spies in Little Drummer Girl) tend to be Fanatics. In the later books (see esp Single and Single, The Night Manager) the villains are totally cynical Sociopaths.

 

post #106 of 143

What the hell? When did I accuse the CEOs of General Dynamics of anything? I've been pretty fucking clear and specific in my criticisms, which you somehow keep interpreting as "painting with a broad brush". This is why I said it seems like you weren't reading my posts.

 

In case I somehow haven't made this clear, Cylon, I don't think everyone in power during the Cold War was acting in bad faith. And I'll be happy to give some people the benefit of the doubt. But there were definitely at least a handful of assholes in power during the cold war, especially in the 70s and 80s (which is where I've been concentrating my criticisms, except for the FDR thing, so I'm not sure why you keep bringing it back to the 50s) and said assholes had a deleterious effect on world politics. I'm specifically calling those people out for profiting off the death and suffering of millions.

 

Likewise, when you have something like the Pinochet coup, I'm sorry but I'm not willing to write that off as good faith. Believing something's for the best only gets you so far, and there are principles you stick by even when it's difficult. One of those principles is "don't overthrow a democratically elected government and replace it with a murderous dictator", especially when the supposed gains are so dodgy. (I mean, I'm no expert on this particular era of history, but what exactly did they think a communist Chile was going to accomplish that a communist Cuba couldn't already do?) It seems to have basically been a case of fucking over a country because the US didn't want to risk it.

 

You can say "you weren't there, you don't understand the hard choices," but the thing is, this is exactly how the US is still acting, but with terrorism in place of communism. Whatever strategic gains are made by, for instance, invading a country pre-emptively because they might pose a threat, are lost in the long term by turning the entire world against you.

 

This is a complicated sphere of operation, and like I say, I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt. But there are lines you don't get to cross unless there's a very real gun to your head.

post #107 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Prankster View Post

In case I somehow haven't made this clear, Cylon, I don't think everyone in power during the Cold War was acting in bad faith. And I'll be happy to give some people the benefit of the doubt. But there were definitely at least a handful of assholes in power during the cold war, especially in the 70s and 80s (which is where I've been concentrating my criticisms, except for the FDR thing, so I'm not sure why you keep bringing it back to the 50s) and said assholes had a deleterious effect on world politics. I'm specifically calling those people out for profiting off the death and suffering of millions.

 

Likewise, when you have something like the Pinochet coup, I'm sorry but I'm not willing to write that off as good faith. Believing something's for the best only gets you so far, and there are principles you stick by even when it's difficult. One of those principles is "don't overthrow a democratically elected government and replace it with a murderous dictator", especially when the supposed gains are so dodgy. (I mean, I'm no expert on this particular era of history, but what exactly did they think a communist Chile was going to accomplish that a communist Cuba couldn't already do?) It seems to have basically been a case of fucking over a country because the US didn't want to risk it.

 

You can say "you weren't there, you don't understand the hard choices," but the thing is, this is exactly how the US is still acting, but with terrorism in place of communism. Whatever strategic gains are made by, for instance, invading a country pre-emptively because they might pose a threat, are lost in the long term by turning the entire world against you.

 

This is a complicated sphere of operation, and like I say, I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt. But there are lines you don't get to cross unless there's a very real gun to your head.

 

Well then we agree!

 

I used the General Dynamic's CEO as an example of being able to view these people as 1) people operating in shades of moral grey or 2) evil cynical assholes.

 

Your use of the FDR conspiracy example was a poor choice for your argument, though it fits quite neatly with the themes of John Le Carre (which this thread is about damn it!). A bunch of people who were outright crazy, living in a dream world of their own creation, and trying to impose it on the rest of the world.

 

I keep referring to the 1950's because it was the formative period of the Cold War, when major policies like Containment, Proxy Wars, over throwing foreign regimes deemed not friendly enough, and anti-Communist Witch Hunts all took place. (Also, The First Rise of Nixon). We are still reliving and reimplementing these policies today.

 

I think the main problem now is, the US is, as you say, acting just like it's still the Cold War, only with Islamo-Fascism-Terrorism as the enemy instead of the USSR. We're stuck in old ways of thinking about the world. Apart from Barack Obama, whose speech in Cairo shows that at least one Western Leader understands that the world has changed and we don't have to keep doing the same thing over and over.
 

 

 

post #108 of 143

Yeah, but I wasn't just sweepingly declaring the cold war to have been nothing but a cynical waste of time. I didn't even bring up the 50s, you did. I've been taking specific aim at some horrific attempts to manipulate the system for power and profit, not saying that the US should have hung up its spurs entirely during the cold war. Or that the soviets weren't evil and worth resisting.

 

Though it's worth noting that during its absolute worst, most tyrannical period, the Soviets were either allied with the US, or the US was neutral towards them--albeit quite nervous. Likewise, it's always seemed insane to me that the US spent the last few decades of the cold war running around fucking up other countries to prevent the spread of communism, when they had a communist country literally on their doorstep. It always seemed like the US did some fucking awful stuff just to shut the barn door after the horse had already run off.

post #109 of 143

So where are we at with the likelihood of a Smiley's People adaptation?  I know it's been talked about as a possibility in the news, but I wonder what the magic number is that must be hit to justify the sequel?  $61 million worldwide seems modest but then I have to imagine this was a shoestring production.  Machete is becoming a franchise with a smaller gross so it's hard to know what success means with smaller films like this.

post #110 of 143
post #111 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post

So where are we at with the likelihood of a Smiley's People adaptation?  I know it's been talked about as a possibility in the news, but I wonder what the magic number is that must be hit to justify the sequel?  $61 million worldwide seems modest but then I have to imagine this was a shoestring production.  Machete is becoming a franchise with a smaller gross so it's hard to know what success means with smaller films like this.


Looked up John Le Carre on Amazon and any novel that even mentions his name (e.g.g Spy who came in from the cold) is now marketed as "A George Smiley Novel". I know they've been talking about jumping to Smiley's People but I'd like to see them at least try to make The Honorable Schoolboy as well.

 

post #112 of 143

I agree - I think the entire Karla trilogy deserves an adaptation, but from what I've read they're keen on skipping over Schoolboy.  Apparently it's budgetary concerns since that one is comparatively more sprawling.

post #113 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post

I think the main problem now is, the US is, as you say, acting just like it's still the Cold War, only with Islamo-Fascism-Terrorism as the enemy instead of the USSR. We're stuck in old ways of thinking about the world. Apart from Barack Obama, whose speech in Cairo shows that at least one Western Leader understands that the world has changed and we don't have to keep doing the same thing over and over.


My last word on this before I move back to LeCarre'-- just because I don't get to pop in here too often, but have really enjoyed the discussion... And I finally get to disagree with Cylon Baby (who's otherwise been doing an admirable job at holding up the side):

 

I don't think the world's changed much at all, in large part because the "old ways of thinking" still pertain. Look at how the recent UN vote on Syria broke down against the traditional Cold War lines.

 

Now, I'm of several minds about our various interventions-- or non-interventions-- in the Middle East, but it's clear that the animosities among the major powers persist, unresolved. Bush the Younger may have had his democracy projects, and our current President may give his speeches, but I think if the last decade has taught us anything, it's that the rules of realpolitik are still in play.

 

In the name of democracy, Bush gave Musharraf a shove out the door, and Obama gave one to Mubarak. And things aren't looking so good right now in either country. I guess I'll take the tyrannical cocksucker I know over the chaos and uncertainty that sweeps in to fill his vacuum. So much for not doing the same things over and over.

 

So to Prankster: yes, this kind of thing  attracts all manner of asshole, profiteer and politician (but I repeat myself). I know you weren't painting with a broad brush-- though I do find it curious you were careful to restrict your criticism to the latter part of the Cold War. But I've known many, many people who have taken a look at the whole conflict and declared it a useless, paranoid and criminal endeavor based on the cases of Western malfeasance you've mentioned.

 

Given human nature in time of war, these kinds of actions might not be excused, but they can be expected... And to expect anything more out of people seems like making the Perfect the enemy of the Good, to me.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post


Looked up John Le Carre on Amazon and any novel that even mentions his name (e.g.g Spy who came in from the cold) is now marketed as "A George Smiley Novel". I know they've been talking about jumping to Smiley's People but I'd like to see them at least try to make The Honorable Schoolboy as well.

I did the same, after reading your post, just to see if they were calling "The Looking-Glass War" a George Smiley novel because of his brief appearance in that (I remember it as brief, but it's been a while since I read it). The Publishers Weekly blurb does indeed call it the "fourth George Smiley novel".
 

 

post #114 of 143

I have absolutely no issue condemning LARGE swaths of the CIA and other intelligence agencies for the things they've pulled. Shit, I've still got a nice big extended family that's reeling from the work done to Central America in the 70's and 80's.

post #115 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post

I agree - I think the entire Karla trilogy deserves an adaptation, but from what I've read they're keen on skipping over Schoolboy.  Apparently it's budgetary concerns since that one is comparatively more sprawling.


It also takes a huge detour away from the first and third books in the trilogy, isn't (IMHO) particularly dramatic (the stakes are high but rather esoteric) and ends on a downer. Smiley's People at least features Smiley as the main protagonist again, even if it reduces Karla somewhat from the inscrutable genius he was when introduced in Tinker. I suspect much the same set of reasons prompted the BBC to skip Schoolboy when they produced the TV adaptations with Alec Guinness.

post #116 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slim View Post

So to Prankster: yes, this kind of thing  attracts all manner of asshole, profiteer and politician (but I repeat myself). I know you weren't painting with a broad brush-- though I do find it curious you were careful to restrict your criticism to the latter part of the Cold War. But I've known many, many people who have taken a look at the whole conflict and declared it a useless, paranoid and criminal endeavor based on the cases of Western malfeasance you've mentioned.


I was focusing on certain aspects of the 70s and 80s because that's, to me, when things really went off the rails--not that it wasn't still a very complicated situation with good and bad on both sides, of course, but this is the point where the Soviet Union was a decaying joke of an antagonist and the US and other western countries engaged in some pretty horrific shit to fight them, which is different from the 50s and 60s when they were a legitimate threat and the US was less obviously engaged in shady business, though the Vietnam war was a pretty big red flag. But there were obviously a mix of opportunists, fanatics, and people with good intentions in power at any given point during the Cold War.

 

post #117 of 143

Well, let's see-- in the 50s and 60s we overthrew the government of Guatemala, re-installed the Shah, and urged the Hungarians to revolt, then stood by and watched while the Soviets rolled over them with tanks. There's the Bay of Pigs and the assassination plots against Castro; around that same time, Kennedy tacitly signed off on the coup and assassination of President Diem in Vietnam. On the less evil but still pretty shady side, CIA once tried to humiliate Sukarno of Indonesia out of office with a fake porno film (I believe it only enhanced his reputation, in the end)... And that's just the stuff I can think of right now.

 

And I don't know that the Soviet Union seemed less a threat by the time we reached the 80s. Detente was Nixon and Carter's way of coming to grips with the idea that the Soviets weren't going anywhere. And when I was a kid there was still a lot of talk about World War III. And if our intelligence services secretly knew that our adversary was a "decaying joke", they had a funny way of showing it-- CIA was caught completely flat-footed by the fall of the Berlin Wall and Soviet dissolution. That wasn't unusual, of course. There wasn't a major global event in fifty years that the agency didn't fail to anticipate.

 

They were really pretty much shit when came to both covert action and intelligence gathering and analysis, which was supposedly their primary function.

post #118 of 143

Didn't mean to exonerate the CIA or the architects of the Cold War at any point in their history, but yes, the Soviet Union was a mess by the mid-70s, albeit a mess that could at least theoretically have done some damage. I mean, sure, they had nukes. But any military movement against the US, NATO, or any other major player at that point would have been more of a "you're all going down with us" type of deal. Say what you will about them, but the Soviets were never crazy the way, say, Saddam or Kim Jong-Il was, and it's hard to see how any threat they could have posed to the Free World wouldn't have rebounded on them a hundredfold. Meanwhile, Afghanistan has always been Clusterfuck Central for invading armies, but the Soviet invasion was a clusterfuck even by those standards. I don't see how it wasn't obvious that inertia had taken over at that point.

 

Of course I don't think there was someone sitting in the halls of power in the US twirling their mustache with full knowledge of the Soviets' ineptitude going, "Ha ha, I shall extend the cold war for several decades and profit thereby!" But I don't believe Bush or his advisors knew there weren't WMDs in Iraq, either. Nevertheless, they willfully chose to believe the worst when it served their purposes, and I believe that's what happened multiple times during the Cold War as well. If the Soviets were an "evil empire", it justified all kinds of horrible shit. If they were a paper tiger, it didn't.

post #119 of 143

We may be essentially in agreement, then, Prankster. As the Professor says in North by Northwest: "War is Hell... even when it's a Cold War." But my original point was that our system has allowed us to scrutinize and criticize the actions of our own government-- as we've done here, and in a way that would have been (and still is to some degree) unthinkable under the governments of our adversaries. The difference, to me, was a pretty big chink in our armor when it came to intelligence work at the time, but a strength over the long term.

 

Changing subjects only slightly-- I'm curious if anyone here has watched the TV show  about the British Secret Service "The Sandbaggers", a near-contemporary of the "Tinker, Tailor" novel and miniseries. It carries a lot of the same Cold War moral ambiguity, but the main character seems to remain relatively free of doubt when it comes to his mission and the nature of the opposition. I found that a little unusual coming from a British program of the period.

post #120 of 143

Absolutely masterful in every sense.  I don't know that I would necessarily "care" about the characters, but I didn't get the impression that caring for them was much the point, at least with how most of us establish relationships with characters in cinema.  Nevertheless, there was some remarkably strong character work, done with seconds when other films would devote minutes to them - Guillam's silent breakdown, Prideaux's isolated moments.  It was more what these characters represented individually that struck a chord with me.

 

It's a film that rewards subsequent viewings, and stays with you long afterwards.  I'm glad I gave it a chance.

post #121 of 143

People always exaggerate how "bad" arming the Mujahideen was.  The guys we really worked with and gave the bulk of the weapons and training to, the Northern Alliance, were our allies when we invaded Afghanistan again in the fall of 2001 and were a huge reason we quickly destroyed the Taliban's grasp of the country.  There were certainly a bunch of bad apples that also benefited, but the Taliban didn't so much come into power because of help from the U.S., but from Pakistan's ISI, who armed and supported them well after we left. 

 

As for the al-Qaida connection, we never provided anything to Abdullah Azzam's Maktab al-Khidamat  (the group Bin Ladin belonged to then when he was just a financier).  Yeah, al-Qaida grew out of that conflict, but it was from shared experiences and common training that they developed themselves.  Those guys were invited to come from various countries around the world to fight regardless of any U.S. assistance.  Sure, instead of using them as proxies to fight the Soviets maybe we could have let the Soviets ruin them and al-Qaida never would have risen, but we had other opportunities to take out al-Qaida's leadership later on that we didn't take, like in Sudan. 

post #122 of 143

I'm convinced this is one of the forgotten masterpieces of the last several years. Someday this film will get its due.

post #123 of 143

So, I bought this a couple of weeks ago, but just sat down to watch it tonight with the family.  Wow. Mangy is right. This will be brought back in a couple years as a masterpiece. I warned everyone before starting that you were going to have to pay attention. At one point, about an hour an 15 minutes in, we called an intermission for restroom breaks, cold medicine taking, dog breaks, drink refills. We just started spitballing who was likely the mole. It lead to a great conversation and when we started the film again, we kept sort of asking the rhetorical questions outloud. It was a great family experience. I have stayed spoiler free, and I pegged

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Colin Firth as the mole in part because Toby Jones was playing cocky, but foolish, Ciaran Hinds was just shady looking, but not actually being shady, and the other guy was too much of a twat to be the mole.

 

Makes me glad to have seen Let the Right One In back in the day. I want to support the director in everything.

 

Did anyone else read anything into the grafitti on the wall outside the Mole House said the Future is Female?  Karla reference? Impotence reference? Kind of sad there are only a couple of pages of discussion on this.

post #124 of 143

Mostly I took it as a times changing reference.  Nostalgia and decrepitude are pretty heavily emphasised threads  from the book in this film;  old men settling old scores in a slow moving chess game thirty years old at the time.  Inside the Circus it does still seem like the forties, gender wise particularly.

 

 

Anyway, yeah;  I'd hesitate to throw around 'classic' for fear of over selling it,  but it's certainly extremely high quality.  It took me a a couple of goes for it to be its own thing separate from the book, and I still question some of the adjustments and think there were a few small things they could have thrown in as well without mucking things up.  There's scenes where I wish it wasn't edited too, or edited more sparingly,  just because I think watching these actors doing their thing in big wide shots at those tables would have been pretty awesome.

In any case I got into that cycle of "hmm. I'm not sure I like this.  I'll watch it again!...hmm,  I'm not sure I like this.  I'll watch it again!."  until I had to admit that I did.

 

I spotted a goof, that can be explained away quite easily admittedly:  in the Interrogation scene,

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

the guy we assume is Karla says 'Tell Alleline what happened' when they execute Irina.  At that point as far as Jim would have known (and probably as far as was actually true at the time)  Control would still have been in charge. 

 

You could say Jim found out later and Smilie wouldn't be surprised since we all know Moscow Centre know everything.  But it's not the sort of detail that either of them would just let slide by unremarked.

 

Not particularly important anyway.  It's a pity people don't like this stuff more and find it so hard to follow.  It's well worth a look.  Still it did well in its home country.

post #125 of 143

It did well enough to generate speculation about SMILEY'S PEOPLE, which Alfredson and Oldman need to get on, god dammit. 

post #126 of 143

I think it will be considered a classic in time, but it's such a difficult, purposely obtuse film (at least in terms of giving the viewer information) that I can see why some might be put off by it. I loved that the storytelling was as covert as the characters, and it's a marvel of acting, production design and direction.

 

In regards to the above comment about "caring" about the characters: I think the primary challenge of the film is conveying the emotions of characters whose job requires never revealing what they're actually thinking or feeling. That the ending is so powerful is a tribute to the filmmaker's skill.


Edited by Mangy - 10/15/12 at 7:50am
post #127 of 143

Agreed.  The movie has a relatively straightforward story (if laid out linearly) told in a deliberately obtuse way, and this is no failing if it is viewed as the mood piece that it is. 

 

Despite its deliberate pace, I've found this to be a remarkably rewatchable film.  I don't know what kind of voodoo it employs to pull off the trick, but this movie makes protracted scenes of dour characters who talk and ponder and gumshoe and suspect in dimly lit smoke-filled rooms a spellbinding pleasure.

post #128 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangy View Post

I'm convinced this is one of the forgotten masterpieces of the last several years. Someday this film will get its due.

 

How was it received in the UK? I get the impression that Le Carre in general, and the TTSS mini-series in particular, and quasi institutions there.

post #129 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post

Agreed.  The movie has a relatively straightforward story (if laid out linearly) told in a deliberately obtuse way, and this is no failing if it is viewed as the mood piece that it is. 

 

 

I watched this with family, and the consensus was good, but a common complaint was that it was not linear.

 

 

Quote:
Despite its deliberate pace, I've found this to be a remarkably rewatchable film.  I don't know what kind of voodoo it employs to pull off the trick, but this movie makes protracted scenes of dour characters who talk and ponder and gumshoe and suspect in dimly lit smoke-filled rooms a spellbinding pleasure.

 

I certainly hope so. I will give it a rewatch next week. When watching it, I was surprised it was just at 2 hours. Films like that always seem to be longer, but for the way they told the story, it seemed almost brisk.

post #130 of 143

Here's a great article about the film by David Bordwell, breaking down the complexity of the film's style. Super spoilery, of course:

 

http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2012/01/23/tinker-tailor-a-guide-for-the-perplexed/

 

In the greatest living filmmakers thread, I mentioned Tomas Alfredsson for this and Let The Right One In. I think even if you don't like his films, it's hard to disagree that he's a master of his craft. I think he's 2 for 2 in making films that are ...fleed ellipse... future classics.

post #131 of 143

Good news, everyone!  Sequel not forgotten.  Sounds like they're adapting Smiley's People and maybe including some of the scant material from Honourable Schoolboy that actually relates to Smiley and the direct aftermath of Tinker Tailor.

post #132 of 143
Don't really get all this talk about what a shame it is this isn't more popular - $80 million worldwide is pretty spectacular for a old fashioned talky movie like this.

Finally saw it some weeks back. It is truly elegantly shot - rarely has the sight of stuffy suits walking around smokey rooms been so lush. But I did find it cold, difficult to follow and often hard to get invested in. Part of that's probably just me being a bit thick, but I did feel like it couldve done with more context to make the stakes feel a it more urgent, and be at least slightly more forgiving when it comes to making it clear exactly what's going on. Plot points like John Hurt's death were treated in almost ridiculously oblique fashion. Also found Kathy Burke, who is usually good, surprisingly stilted and affected in this, like a school play performance or something. Thought that was a bit odd.

Anyway there's obviously a lot that's good and well done in it, I'm glad it was a success and I would give it a rewatch, but this kind of dry Machiavellia may just not be my kettle of fish (in movie form at least).
post #133 of 143

Its a momentary diversion but nevertheless Kathy Bates is horrid in this, completely out of her depth.  

post #134 of 143
Kathy Bates is in this??
post #135 of 143
Burke! But I'm glad I wasn't alone in thinking that. It's a strange performance.
post #136 of 143

God, its been a long day. My apologies to Kathy Bates. 

post #137 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post

Don't really get all this talk about what a shame it is this isn't more popular - $80 million worldwide is pretty spectacular for a old fashioned talky movie like this.
Finally saw it some weeks back. It is truly elegantly shot - rarely has the sight of stuffy suits walking around smokey rooms been so lush. But I did find it cold, difficult to follow and often hard to get invested in. Part of that's probably just me being a bit thick, but I did feel like it couldve done with more context to make the stakes feel a it more urgent, and be at least slightly more forgiving when it comes to making it clear exactly what's going on. Plot points like John Hurt's death were treated in almost ridiculously oblique fashion. Also found Kathy Burke, who is usually good, surprisingly stilted and affected in this, like a school play performance or something. Thought that was a bit odd.
Anyway there's obviously a lot that's good and well done in it, I'm glad it was a success and I would give it a rewatch, but this kind of dry Machiavellia may just not be my kettle of fish (in movie form at least).

 


Well there is a line of dialogue about "OMG We are the front line against the Russians!" but one of the main themes of Le Carre's work is that the Spy business isn't important at all, and that these men have wasted their lives.

post #138 of 143

What the hell was wrong with Kathy Burke?

post #139 of 143

She's playing a fairly weird eccentric character in the first place,  so I was watching through that lens.  They have shifted Connie into being one of the "Circus women" (an aging one admittedly)  where in the book she's closer to being a contemporary of George and was formidable and respected in her day (if annoying to the brass).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post

Good news, everyone!  Sequel not forgotten.  Sounds like they're adapting Smiley's People and maybe including some of the scant material from Honourable Schoolboy that actually relates to Smiley and the direct aftermath of Tinker Tailor.

 

I don't know if I'd call it scant.  It seems like a third of the book at least, from memory.  Shifting all that over seems likely to make Smiley's a bit over stuffed.  I was really hoping they'd do it, as that story is worth some time.  They could rearrange it to make Smiley more central, I don't care.  It's probably the same worry they had in the TV adaptations:  Schoolboy reads expensive.

They also sort of screwed themselves by not having the actual Jerry Westerby in the film.  Still, I was thinking maybe they could have brought back Ricky Tarr instead.  It might be a stretch that he'd end up in the exact same fix he was with Irina.  But given what happens that might work even better.  Who wouldn't want to watch a big global operation in action with this cast?:  Hardy running around SE Asia.  Send Cumberbatch over to watch him.  Oldman fumbling the politics of the top job back home.

Could definitely have worked, in my fevered imagination.

post #140 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muzman View Post

 

 

I don't know if I'd call it scant.  It seems like a third of the book at least, from memory.  Shifting all that over seems likely to make Smiley's a bit over stuffed.  I was really hoping they'd do it, as that story is worth some time.  They could rearrange it to make Smiley more central, I don't care.  It's probably the same worry they had in the TV adaptations:  Schoolboy reads expensive.

 

They also sort of screwed themselves by not having the actual Jerry Westerby in the film.  Still, I was thinking maybe they could have brought back Ricky Tarr instead.  It might be a stretch that he'd end up in the exact same fix he was with Irina.  But given what happens that might work even better.  Who wouldn't want to watch a big global operation in action with this cast?:  Hardy running around SE Asia.  Send Cumberbatch over to watch him.  Oldman fumbling the politics of the top job back home.

Could definitely have worked, in my fevered imagination.

 

Could not agree with you more, Muzman. There's a lot in The Honourable Schoolboy that deals directly with the aftermath of Haydon's unmasking, and Smiley pulling the Circus up from the ashes that I'd love to see on film, and it may be too much to fit into a two-hour-plus movie of Smiley's People.

 

Somewhere upthread (nearly a year ago now!) I voiced my disappointment that we won't get on screen the book's Westerby, who's probably my favorite character in the Karla Trilogy. But given that, using Tom Hardy's Tarr in the roughly the same role could also work, if they were to adapt the second book. Excellent call. Too bad they're not going to do it.

post #141 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post

Good news, everyone!  Sequel not forgotten.  Sounds like they're adapting Smiley's People and maybe including some of the scant material from Honourable Schoolboy that actually relates to Smiley and the direct aftermath of Tinker Tailor.

Best news today.  Thanks.

post #142 of 143

In a recent interview Oldman does little more than acknowledge that the sequel is still likely to happen at some point, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

 

It sounds like the same team will be involved, but Tomas Alfredson is keen on letting Oldman age.  I think Peter Straughan had been commissioned to write a draft at one point.

post #143 of 143

I certainly hope it happens, but at least we got one perfect gem of a movie from their collaboration.

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