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New UK ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ Poster; First Screening Impressions

Posted by , on July 29, 2011 at 9:08 am 

With a Venice Film Festival Premiere confirmed, we have a new UK poster for Tomas Alfredson‘s Let The Right One In follow-up Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, based on John le Carré‘s novel. Peter Straughan and Bridget O’Connor have scripted an update starring last year’s Best Actor winner Colin Firth, along with Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Stephen Graham, Kathy Burke, and Ciarán Hinds. Check out the poster above via LoveFilm. The design is very much in line with the first poster we’ve already seen as well. See the trailer here, if you haven’t already.

Now, the following should be taken with a huge grain of salt since it comes from random users on an IMDb board, but the very first test screening for the film was held at an AMC theater in New Jersey last week and we have two different sets of impressions. Read them below.

Impression #1:

I knew nothing of the book, but I liked the movie. I understand why certain people wouldn’t enjoy it. But I think those who appreciate acting and dialogue will be rewarded. It’s definitely not for those with short attention spans. Judging by the looks of some in the crowd, I wondered why they came — but it is free, so… Anyway, if you’re looking for something like the Bourne films, it’s not your type of movie. If you liked Michael Clayton or The Good Shepherd, check it out. Gary Oldman gives a great(but restrained) performance. He’s come a long way since his younger over-the-top days.

I suspect that Oldman will be nominated (definitely his best performance since The Contender) for a Best Actor Oscar. And possibly Mark Strong for Best Supporting Actor. Too early to tell for Best Pic — but if the field remains wide, I can see it taking a slot. And not that you can compare the two from a genre standpoint, but I thought this film was far better than The King’s Speech.

It’s hard to think along with “the Academy” voters on these things sometimes — but Strong’s performance seemed to over shadow the other supporting roles. However, generally speaking, I’ll be shocked if the film isn’t represented in multiple categories. It definitely has “Oscar” written all over it. [Tom Hardy] doesn’t come into the picture until the middle. A significant role but only in the latter half.

The entire film is bathed in nuance. A glance, slight turn of the head — subtle but revealing in the details. This isn’t a Daniel Day-Lewis role — no points for gyrations or dramatic physical transformations. Understated yet heavy at the same time. No climactic fist fight. Not much action at all. The few scenes of brief violence are spread out across the film. They enter then exit like thunder claps.
I don’t know exactly when it started, but I’d say it’s a solid 2 hrs. And it’s definitely a rough cut; the sound wasn’t mixed yet. A little annoying at times b/c the sound drops outs on the cuts — but still watchable. I should mention that the cinematography was excellent as well. The camera’s POV is like another character altogether. It’s not just about talking heads; it’s about how the shots are composed as well. If you’re the type to look down at your popcorn or talk to your friend, you’d better off going to see Zookeeper. ;)

Overall, the crowd skewed a little older. I sat down in front so I didn’t witness any people leaving. The couple next to me was in their late 40s and they seemed frustrated and bored. I got the feeling that people just showed up on a hot summer night for a free movie — but having no idea what they were about to see. I think they were hoping for the Bourne Identity or Salt — not a dialogue-heavy, Cold-War era, British spy thriller. If you like The Lives of Others, you’ll like this. If you want MTV-style, mile-a-minute jump cuts, stay home and watch the Bourne movies on dvd.

Impression #2:

I’m afraid to say that this movie does NOT live to it’s trailer and book. My wife and I are highly disappointed and I wasn’t the only one. This movie is soooo boring and soooo slow that people started to leave the theater right into the 1st 25 minutes of the movie. I fell asleep 3 times in 1 hour, my wife had to elbow me to wake me up. I tried giving it a chance, but alas I couldn’t…I left the theater after 72 minutes…72 minutes that I will never get back again.

If I had to pay for this movie I would’ve demanded my money back, but I was fortunate enough that It was a free screening. I wouldn’t wish this movie to my worst enemy. So please refrain from paying your hard earned money to see this, wait for it on DVD or better yet Cable TV. But it’s a special free screening, the one where you sit afterwards to give your thoughts and ideas about the film, too bad it was so horrible that most people ( including myself ) couldn’t stay to finish watching this film.

Judging from these two wildly different impressions, it reminds me of something like The American (one of my favorite films of last year); a nuanced film that will disappoint the general filmgoer if they go in expecting a spy thriller. I simply can’t wait as this remains one of my most anticipated films of the year.


Based on the classic novel of the same name, the international thriller is set at the height of the Cold War years of the mid-20th Century. George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a disgraced British spy, is rehired in secret by his government – which fears that the British Secret Intelligence Service, a.k.a. MI-6, has been compromised by a double agent working for the Soviets.

Focus Features will release Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wide on November 18th, 2011, after a Venice Film Festival premiere in early September.

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