Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
When the end credits rolled at my screening of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in 2011, I could sense a collective feeling of befuddlement from the audience which I also shared. The culprit was obvious, but I had no idea how the hero George Smiley came to that conclusion. Still, the movie had done such a masterful job of setting up this mysterious, dangerous world of paranoia and deception, that I was intrigued enough to seek out the book to help me connect all the puzzle pieces I had noticed, but couldn't fit together.
After turning the last page on the novel, I still wanted more! So I watched the miniseries with Alec Guiness as Smiley and enjoyed the hell out of that interpretation of the at-times frustratingly complex novel. Still not content, I re-watched the film with the commentary on, and found even more details that contributed to my mounting admiration for this finely-crafted story.
I just finished my second reading of this novel, and I found it just as absorbing and tense as my first reading. I'm also noticing a ton of details that I missed first time around. The plot is rich and so complex, but doesn't sacrifice for character development at all. The characters that I felt the most affinity for (Smiley, Prideaux, Guilliam, Tarr) go through a tremendous arch, and it's compelling stuff each step of the way. I loved how the film and the miniseries take different approaches to the story, but still convey the themes of loneliness, loyalty, and betrayal that are heavily felt in the novel.
photo source: Jack English, courtesy of Paul Smith Press Office