You know I'm a big John LeCarre fan. :) I think he is a brilliant writer. My favorite book of his (and one of my top five favorite novels) is Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
So a couple weeks ago, I entered a contest on the Fandango blog to win two free tickets to the Los Angeles premiere of the new Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy movie.
And I won! I was shocked. :) It was last night, and my sister and I went. Oh my goodness, we had so much fun. We just kept giggling the entire time.
(But not during the movie. We were quiet during the movie.)
Five days ago, we were sitting out here in the suburbs without any power, listening to the food inside our freezer thawing, and tonight, a Hollywood premiere. Whoo, that's a lot of commotion in one week for two stay-at-home moms! :)
My pictures are quick, poor, very blurry iPhone shots taken while things zoomed by, but here they are.
The Sunset Boulevard exit off the freeway
The famous corner of Sunset and Vine. Why is it famous? I am not sure. Speak up if you know why it's famous.
Amoeba Records, the biggest independent music store in the world.
The Cinerama Dome, where the movie was premiering.
George Smiley (as played by Gary Oldman) and Suzie (as played by Suzie)
The Red Carpet out front, as viewed from behind the "don't cross if you're not famous" tape :D
The Red Carpet out front, as viewed from inside the lobby
David Dencik, who plays Toby Esterhase in the movie
The back of Mark Strong's head. He plays Jim Prideaux (my favorite character in the book besides George Smiley) in the movie.
Robyn Slovo, the producer. She had really cute shoes. I almost walked between her and a photographer taking her picture. I came to a screeching halt not to do so. It was so funny. :)
Our exciting free popcorn and drinks!
After we went into the theater and were seated and waited awhile, the director, Tomas Alfredson, came onstage and thanked some people and sang happy birthday to somebody in Swedish (it was really cute). Then some of the actors came onstage with him, including Colin Firth and Gary Oldman. Whoo hoo!
They both look great.
Did I like the movie? Well, yes and no. :) Mostly yes.
Here are the things I liked very much: The casting and acting are brilliant, the plot has been compressed into two hours very nicely (smart screenplay), some of the changes to the plot are refreshing and give it a nice new twist, the cinematography and atmosphere is perfect, the attention to detail is really fun, and the music score is perfect. I was so worried that Gary Oldman would not be a good George Smiley, because I have the George Smiley in my head from the book (whom I like the best) and then Alec Guinness as George Smiley from the mini-series (whom I am also very fond of), and I feel oddly proprietary about George Smiley, as if John LeCarre wrote him just for me and my dad. :) But Gary Oldman did a great job. They all did. Superb acting.
Here are the things I did not like: It is rated "R" and has a lot of junk in it that wasn't in the book and is not needed.
For instance, I understand, artistically, why the director went with the few short, shocking, very graphic bits of violence -- the movie is European in actuality and also in its sensibilities, very quiet in parts, and full of dialogue and thinking and people looking out windows (which I love, all of it), and the gore keeps the Cold War plotline from feeling like a game of chess. There were real, horrible consequences in this story. But LeCarre was able to convey that in the book without being explicit (ditto with the mini-series) so I still object, even though I can understand what the director was going for. It is a very visually stunning movie -- gray and brown and smoky and spy-like.
I have become largely desensitized to movie violence over the years, and this bothers me about myself, and I want to resensitize myself. I really think movie and t.v. people will just keep making things more and more shocking as audiences become blase, and I don't like where that is headed at all. So to be honest, I don't really go to "R" movies, with few exceptions, and sometimes I cover my eyes in the theater. It is working. I am becoming shockable again. I know this will sound nutters or very quaint to some of you, but I don't care. :) We change in different ways as we grow up, all of us.
But I liked this movie. It was very well done, and I am just so happy that some other people loved LeCarre and made this. Just censor yourself as needed, chickies. (The parents' page on IMDB for the movie explains most potentially objectionable content. But there are some plot spoilers, so don't look at it if you consider yourself unshockable.)
I probably won't see it again for awhile, whereas I can watch the mini-series over and over again annually, but I'm very glad we went, and very thankful to Fandango and Focus Features. I will probably write a long letter to the director and a couple of the actors telling them specific things I loved. I'm hoping that they all keep going and make the novel Smiley's People into a movie, too. (It's the third in the Quest for Karla trilogy.)
If you go, and you have time, read the book first, so you know more of what's going on.
I call this video I took "You have to believe me, it's them." :D
The dot on the far left is Gary Oldman. Colin Firth is on his immediate right. If you have the sound on, that's the director speaking.