So, when we went yesterday, I had high expectations and I was a little...disappointed isn't quite the right word, but it wasn't what I was expecting. For those that don't know, the film, based on the novel by John le Carre, concerns a recently retired MI5 (or MI6, I wasn't 100% sure) agent, George Smiley (Oldman) who is brought back in to discover the identity of a mole for the Russians. The fact that it's set during the 70s might put off younger viewers, (which is probably a good thing) but knowledge of the Cold War isn't essential to understanding the film.
My problem was that, although I wasn't expecting a thriller with lots of explosions and swearing and running about (if you want that, try the Bourne films), I did expect there to be more tension in the film, which just seems to hum along nicely while never really fleshing out any of the one-dimensional characters. It's interesting and there are great scenes, there just seemed to be a lot of nothing-ness in between those scenes. Perhaps I'm being unfair, a whole novel that became a six-hour BBC series in the 70s is bound to lose a lot when it is condensed into just a couple of hours. It always happens when a book becomes a film, but I do feel like the film was missing some depth, maybe.
The acting was good, as you would expect from such a stellar cast (Firth excluded), and the script was simple enough to follow and complex enough to be interesting, and there was actually a lot more humour in it than I expected. Not laugh-out-loud humour, but it was amusing. Kudos to Benedict Cumberbatch, though, who has the standout performance of the film in my opinion. I've never seen him produce anything less than an excellent performance (his turn as Frankenstein was particularly impressive) and I hope that people might start to take a bit more notice of him after this.
So, to sum up, it's definitely worth a watch even though it didn't live up to my expectations. I don't know, maybe my enjoyment was dampened by the other people in the cinema, which was packed. You can all look forward to another blog entry about why I love going to the cinema despite the fact that it is, 99% of the time, a thoroughly miserable experience.