I love spy drama. I especially love spy drama of the Cold War period. I’m hoping to see a movie about 26 Sept 1983 the day the world almost died and didn’t know it. Until then I enjoy fiction inspired by the mood of the times.
The original BBC Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is one of my favorite spy movies. When the remake came out recently I was hoping for a new take on telling a favorite tale. Like most movies I don’t catch them in the theater but do catch them later. This was one of our weekend movies.
I can’t say I didn’t like the movie. I did. I can say it was true to the BBC original. I enjoyed the twisted tale as always where who is who and where do loyalties fall is always fun. Except when it was over I pondered why the remake? Did we really need to make a copy of the classic? Nope. I walked away from this one with nothing more than I got from the original. It wasn’t updated. It wasn’t tweaked as far as fashion, setting, or anything. It was all the same tale with fresh faces and new names playing the parts.
Some movies are so well done, so powerful, so masterfully made the first time they don’t need remakes. Casablanca comes to mind. It doesn’t need to be copied with fresh faces and color. It stands as the best it can be as it is. So what if the new generation doesn’t know Bogie let them be introduced to him at his best. That’s how I feel about the ’79 version of TTSS. It’s Cold War drama at its best. Let it stand as the masterpiece that it is.
I felt for the cast of the new one. The best they could do is live up to the first. When up against something like this – you are set to fall short. Gary Oldman turns in a powerful performance but it is only equal to Alec Guinness’s in the original. Hard to exceed a master in one of his best performances ever.
I’m not sure what I wanted when I sat down to watch. I generally stay away from remakes of movies I think are the final say on that particular story. When it was over I was left with the thought that this added nothing nor took anything from the original, that it was just eh – new faces in familiar places. I don’t think I needed that. Despite the sets being spot on to period, fashions being grand, pacing and delivery top-notch I was left thinking I could have just watched the ’79 one and gotten the same thing saving the world millions.
If you’ve not seen the first and you don’t want to watch actors of a previous generation at the top of their game then this version is for you. Otherwise – get thee to a library and look up the original. It’s excellent and it was the first. Until next time!