There are spy stories which have become better by being turned into movies (Ian Fleming’s James Bond being the prime example) and there are those whose writers never should have given permission for their stories to be put on the screen. Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44 is the latest example in a list which is longer than that of failed espionage plots during the Cold War.
I haven’t read John le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and I am not a particular fan of Mr le Carré anyway, but the film adaptation is horrible. Well, I could have guessed that much from watching the trailer.
You fell asleep, too? The two-hour film is worse. Much worse! Pretentious acting, annoying soundtrack, no coherent storytelling, no real suspense, no drama, none of the characters allows any emotional connection to be built up.
The film is trying to be something like a period drama with old-fashioned suits, old cars, creaking wooden floors in dusty offices. But isn’t the book set in 1973? It is! Weren’t the 1970s colorful, exciting, fun- and action-filled times? They were! Throughout the whole film, I had the impression that the film crew had accidentally booked a 1950s set instead of the 1970s set.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy tries to be a very serious, thoughtful, mature, dark spy movie, but it tries too much and fails miserably. Even watching something as silly as True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger is a better use of your time. Reading a good spy novel, by Eric Ambler for example, is even better, of course.