Posts Tagged ‘John Le Carre’

Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris

Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris


107 minutes | MPAA rating: R

With “Our Kind of Traitor” Hollywood may have gone to the John le Carré well one too many times.

It’s not that the feature from director Susanna White (“Nanny McPhee Returns” and a whole load of TV)  is bad.

It just feels overly familiar. PBS, cable channels, Amazon and Netflix seem awash in Brit espionage fare, particularly titles with the le Carré pedigree. “Our Kind of Hero” tends to get lost in the mix.

Stellan Skarsgaard

Stellan Skarsgaard

Brit couple Perry (Ewan McGregor), a university lecturer, and his girlfriend Gail (Naomie Harris), an attorney, are vacationing in Marrakesh. Alas, the exotic setting is doing little to alleviate their relationship issues.  Having sex seems like more of a chore than a pleasure.

Soloing at a local restaurant, Perry is befriended by Dima (Stellan Skarsgard), a garrulous Russian accompanied by a bunch of fellow Russkies whose sharp clothes do little to disguise their thuggish demeanors.

Dima drafts the reluctant Perry for a night of clubbing. The next day he schedules a tennis game with his new bud. And Dima introduces Perry and Gail to his family (wife, three or four kids).

Anyone who’s ever seen a spy thriller knows that the unsuspecting Englishman is going to get in way over his head.


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Gary Oldman as George Smiley

“TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY” My rating: B+ (Opening January 6 at the Glenwood Arts)

127 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Gary Oldman is often described as an actor’s actor…which in his case apparently means an incurable ham.

Oldman’s career is heavily weighted toward over-the-top, push-too-far performances. Sometimes this is forgivable, particularly when he’s in a bad movie and his fierce scenery gnawing is the only remotely entertaining thing in sight.

Too often over the years, though, I’ve found him to be a jarring pothole in a movie’s narrative highway.

Now I can happily report that in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” Oldman gives a marvelously restrained, subtle and carefully modulated performance.

He plays British spymaster George Smiley, the owlish Cold War protagonis of several John LeCarre novels — a role essayed by Alec Guinness in the 1979  PBS adaptation of “TTSS.” And he is quietly wonderful.

The movie’s not too shabby, either. (more…)

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