I was in fear and trembling before watching this movie. Not because of any potential hide-behind-the-sofa moments – but because I so wanted the film to succeed, but feared it would fail spectacularly. For the BBC series with Alec Guinness as George Smiley is one that i’ve watched countless times. And it never ceases to surprise and thrill. Even though cinematically the look and feel seems very dated, the production doesn’t age. So when I heard about the new film, my heart groaned slightly. But fortunately, I really shouldn’t have worried. This film is a triumph.
The film is not without its problems of course – but as a faithful adaptation as well as en excellent cinematic experience, it passes with flying colours.
Having been asked to write a short review the other day, I wrote it up in to a more extended version for Damaris – and it can now be found online there. Both Le Carré’s original book and this film actually have much to teach – not least about the swirling doubts that pervade so much of contemporary Western culture. As I say at the article’s conclusion:
To those who do hold convictions, Smiley offers an implicit warning not to conceal any lingering doubts (for otherwise, there walks the hypocrite); convictions can be articulated with confidence, but always with compelling humility and honesty. Otherwise, in a world that values trust much more highly than truth, such people run the risk of being dismissed as fanatics with secret doubts who can always be turned.