Tinker Tailor Soldier siiiigh…

Even though I did not gawp as Sir Alec Guinness enthralled the great British middle classes in the late 1970’s in the famous BBC adaptation of John Le Carre’s celebrated novel, and indeed not having read the book, I nevertheless approached this much trumpeted British “classic” with enthusiasm.

My anticipation was grossly misplaced.  It is a tedious and turgid celebration of Britain’s Cold War spying fraternity that is so badly plotted that to the uninitiated it has the transparency of a potato.

If anyone can tell me what the hell was going on in this self indulgent nonsense I’d be grateful. On second thoughts, don’t bother, I don’t really care.

We Brits do get so chipper about our occassional foray into big news cinema and so the arrival of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has been trumpeted loudly and uncriticaly in the British (mainly broadsheet) press.

The King’s Speech too was credited with far greater quality than it actually delivered.

This is just a mess.

There is little to fault about the acting from a fine ensemble of British character actors who all carry out their duties perfectly well, generally in a half light that occasionally works cinematographically and sometimes just makes the action plain gloomy.

The art department excells however with excellent period details from start to finish.

Director Tomas Alfredson’s first movie, Let The Right One in, is as tight as a drum and is beautifully realised – in stark contrast to this nonsense.

I can’t honestly remember the last time I was quite so bored in a cinema and I blame, principally, the screenplay for this because it assumes its audience knows the detailed storyline and makes no effort to introduce novices to the basic premises of what the story is actually about.

How a film with so many twists and turns, flahbacks (way too many) and references can be boring beats me.  But it is.

Unless you know the book or the TV series well, avoid like the plague.

The Skin That I Live In by Almodovar

I’ve long admired Almodovar and it was with interest that I went to his his latest “horror” film.  To describe it thus is most certainly to misappropriate a psychological study of sexuality because it is most certainly not a horror movie.  Instead we see Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya develop the most unlikely relationship you’ll see in a very long time.

Banderas is electric as the cool and calculated surgeon using Anaya (wow) as his human guinea pig to develop a new kind of indestructible skin as he grieves the death of his wife as a consequance of a car fire.

It’s pretty hard to cover much more of the plot for fear of spoiling what is a tremendous film with perhaps the best twist I’ve ever seen in a cinema.  Almodovar is at his very best hear with an excellent supporting cameraman, Jose Luis Alcaine who makes the pictures zing from the digital screening that I was at.

Interestingly I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy today as well and both were sound tracked by Alberto Iglesias.  This one brilliantly, Tinker, Tailor lamentably.

Scotland’s war of attrition

The match against Argentina this morning was rugby at its most attritional and exciting despite the fact Scotland lost and there was only one try.  However Scotland’s curse raises its head once again and we look likely to fail to reach the quarter finals.  It makes next Saturday’s match against England truly unmissable.  Horrific missed drop goal by Dan Parks right at the death and I suspect a lack of concentration after we’d eked out that six point lead only to concede a converted try less than a minute later.