I suppose to kick start the reactivation of my blog, I’ll right a movie review. I suppose it should start jogging my academic mentality.
WARNING: SPOILERS (Obviously)
Guess I’ll start with the plot. Generally I think it’s pretty good, ties in a lot of little things that are shown throughout the film. There’s even a pretty decent tie in with the first film, though I don’t personally feel there’s much reference of the second film aside from Batman’s outlaw status and the cover up of Harvey Dent’s murder. Don’t get me wrong, those were huge things, but the Joker character (played by the late Heath Ledger), stole that show and sadly, not enough reference was made to him, although admittedly, it would’ve been impossible to bring him back for the finale. Still, it feels weird watching the finale without enough reference to the Joker.
Acting was pleasant but I fear that none of the actors could really hold the film for its two and a half hour long span. Alfred was a little too hammed up, Wayne/Batman just seemed to go along with the plot, Bane was barely audible, Fox was good but hardly given much acting space and Talia was rather boring for me too. Catwoman and Gordon were probably one of the few characters to really hold my attention, and I felt they were well acted.
In terms of production design, I was extremely bothered by the look of Batman’s aerial vehicle; the Bat. It lacked any characteristically strong bat-like features entirely. I’m sure, that they were just trying to move it toward a more realistic design, but such a name had almost no stick onto the actual vehicle.
I’m sure a lot of people were disappointed with Bane’s appearance. I quite like his more refined personality but admittedly a more muscular actor would’ve been preferred. I quite liked the reasoning for the mask, it was sensible and had a good reason for being there whilst still being a weak point. I was pleasantly surprised by the Catwoman outfit. I quite liked it, especially the goggles which rested on her head to give her the characteristic ‘cat ears’. However, it would have been nice if she had used her trademark whip as well.
Camera wise, I quite liked the visual plays designed around Batman and the darkness but was otherwise unimpressed by most of the camera angles. Nothing really wrong, but nothing really wowing me either.
I was marginally bothered by the sound at some of the cuts, especially when it moved from a noisy to quiet setting. Just contrasts are very apparent and are hard for an audience to ignore. Thus, it should only be used to invoke a certain mood. Unfortunately for me, it doesn’t invoke fear or loneliness. It doesn’t do anything other than confirm what we can already see; a change of location.
IMDb Page : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1340800/
Saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy today. (SPOILER ALERT)
I’ll get the plot out of the way first. It branches off on its own tangents very often, but I feel that it compliments the film as the film is about playing in a field full of unknowns. The audience is likely to get lost, unless they can follow the parallel stories from multiple directions, that only really make sense near the end, and even then, you need to make assumptions before certain things actually link up.
Convoluted stories are always hit and miss with audiences, and whilst I personally liked it, I knew the minute the credits rolled that this movie is not for everyone. Personally, I like the different tangents and found the writing to be commendably tense, without needing to resort to excessive drama or action. In fact, the only time the protagonist, George Smiley played by Gary Oldman, raises his voice is far after the climax of the film, and I feel it adds to the character, that he keeps his calm no matter what happens during the tense moments of the film but breaks suddenly when reaching a resolution, possibly one he’s been trying to not accept.
One complaint with the plot would be the ending where Smiley reacts to a person in his apartment (hinted to be his wife/ex-wife) in a familiar manner after all that’s happened. It ruins it for me. The other issue I had was with the rather lacking confrontation with Karla. We find out he’s involved in the scandal, only to hear him talking easily and then walking out of the room where Smiley is focused more on his former friend.
Alright that’s plot out of that way, let’s talk about acting. For the most part, I think the acting was pretty good. It may seem rather lacking to some, but I think that in the context of the film, it was very appropriate. In fact, I am of the opinion that most audiences are too used to having information spoon-fed to them, but such is the influence of the straight corridor of traditional Hollywood narration.
However, whilst the acting was pretty good, if not spot on, for most of the film, David Dencik’s final scene as Toby Esterhase bothered me due to the fact that it was unnecessarily hammy. Now, I’m well aware it could have been a conscious direction or decision due to the contrast it would make next to Smiley in that scene. Even so, it did not gel well with the overall feel of the film and the way everyone acted in a restricted manner that can almost be seen as human. Especially with the chess theme that was presented from early scenes, the final scene with Esterhase did not feel like a magnificently executed move, but instead, it simply felt like a plain and uninteresting victory, with Smiley watch Esterhase’s pathetic breakdown.
(Update on 20th February 2012, 10.38pm. With reference to this interview, page 5, Gary Oldman admits that David Dencik seemed to have forgotten his line during that scene. I was right!)
Sound-wise, I feel that the sound in the film was very safe. With the tone of the movie, and the restrained nature of emotions, combined with the fact that the film easily loses the audience as the story progresses, the sound is admittedly something that I believe was difficult to really plan for. However, the result is a soundscape that is safe, and whilst generally appropriate, does nothing to really compliment the film.
Camera work was rather simplistic, and honestly I felt that camera and editing were the major flaws of the film. Together, there were a lot of moments where editing threw me off, rather than helped me understand anything. Whilst the movie could have been intentionally aimed at being confusing, relying on smoke and mirrors of confusing shots is rather sloppy. This is especially prevelant where it cuts from conversations to flashbacks of conversations and the 180 degree line gets crossed so often, and lighting between the two shots not distinct enough to signal a shift of location.
That said, there was one particular shot that really caught me, which was when Smiley was looking straight into the camera and recalling what he said to Karla, and for the moment, I felt some level of connection, so I commend it.
In summary, the writing and acting are good, and whilst there were certain things I could pick on, that others may not, I have to put my foot down that I hated the camera and editing work, and I feel that the sound designers probably had a hard time working on it when the shots were jumping all over the place.
Posted February 20th, 2012. Add a comment