I observed Australia Day by seeing a British movie, then watching the episode of Babylon 5
with the racist Australian, and finally reading a teen novel set in Port Adelaide during the 1928 wharfies' strike. So that was patriotic.
Setting out, suburbannoir
and I found ourselves with the choice of going out to a suburban multiplex, or heading closer to the city to the trendy independent cinema. We chose the 'burbs on account of how the food court options were superior, but then it turned out that the multiplex's best-value (for us) popcorn deal came with a free Muppet, so obviously we made the right choice. (And we have the Fozzie to prove it!)
Hoyts may ahve misjudged the audience somewhat -- we were the youngest people in the cinema by about 15 years, but all the pre-trailer ads were aimed at school-leavers. The trailers themselves were terrible -- we got:
- Clive Owen versus his moustache
- Liam Neeson versus WOLVES
- something about a CIA agent who's shocked and amazed that his bosses are doing something a bit sketchy
- something about two CIA agents competing for Reese Witherspoon, and breaking various international laws in the process. I'm not sure, but I think this last one was meant to be a comedy.
After all that, Tinker Tailor
was pretty amazing. I'm really glad I saw it at the cinema, not because it was full of amazing special effects that needed to be seen on a big screen, but because it was really intricate and demanded my full attention, and if I'd been watching at home I'd have been reaching for my phone or looking up the cast on Wikipedia or making a quilt, or doing something
other than concentrating. And that would have been a shame.
Of course, one reason why it demanded so much attention is that I have trouble telling middle-aged white men apart. That's an exaggeration for comedic effect: I'm not very good with faces in general, but generally I can tell women apart by their hair and clothes. Put me in a situation where you have lots of people of the same race and roughly similar ages, dressing alike -- men in suits, basically -- and I'm a bit lost. Until I was actually in the cinema, I believed that all the Tinker Tailor
ads on bus shelters around the city featured Bill Nighy, not Gary Oldman. And I know and like Bill Nighy's face! (I'd know and like Gary Oldman's face, too, if it didn't keep changing!) (And suburbannoir
pointed out that if Bill Nighy had
been in it, the entire film would have exploded from an excess of concentrated Britishness.)
In short, for me the cast went: Smiley aka Gary Oldman In Glasses, John Hurt, Benedict Cumberbatch + Benedict Cumberbatch's cheekbones and floppy ginger hair, Colin Firth, Caesar from Rome
, the Dream Lord,
that guy who isn't Jared Harris
Mark Strong, and someone who I intially thought was Billie Piper in drag, but he turned out to be Tom Hardy.
The women were a million times easier, since there were fewer of them and they all looked completely different from each other: Belinda the Blonde, Beautiful Russian Lady, Random Kathy Bates, Lady Edith Crawley.
Lots of unheralded flashbacks ("Which glasses are Gary Oldman wearing in this scene? Oh, those. Flashback, then."), which I think is why people found it hard to follow? It all made sense, you just had to pay attention. (Of course, one Amazon reviewer didn't realise it wasn't set in the present day, so.) The climax was very low-key, but I had somehow expected that. One for the DVD shelf -- even if the movie itself had been rubbish, the costume design made it a keeper.