Last night on Twitter, @BretEastonEllis was grumbling about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: “Everything great about the novel is condensed into two confusing hours.” (Ellis has deleted that Tweet, but thanks to Google, it lives on.) “this grim, oppressively exquisite thing is so confusing it’s almost parodic…”
Today in Salon, in John Le Carré writes a brief appreciation of Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of his novel:
The spy fiction icon calls the new film the best adaptation of his work ever
Once in a lifetime, if a novelist is very lucky, he gets a movie made of one of his books that has its own life and truth. This is the achievement of Tomas Alfredson and his team.
This is a movie that entertains superbly and thrillingly at its own pace and rhythm — a hypnotic movie that takes you over completely. I don’t believe that any audience, once introduced to it, will be able to take its eyes off the screen.
In profound ways, it is touching and often alarming. In less profound ways, it is exciting and occasionally very funny. Its complexities are a pleasure to share, and the more so since the movie gently explains them and delivers a satisfying dénouement.
It is a work of art that stays with you, as good works of art do.