Tag Archives: Colin Firth

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

More and more the template for a spy film is “action first, story later–if at all.” This has mostly to do with the new opportunities provided by technology, but it also says something about contemporary audiences. Old school spy stories are intended to be convoluted, meandering whodunits, and vagueness doesn’t sit well with modern viewers, myself included. That said, anybody who puts Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy next to, for instance, Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol will quickly come to appreciate the nuanced origins of the spy thriller. Tinker Tailor–Tomas Alfredson‘s follow-up to the critically successful and successfully recycled for American audiences Let the Right One In--is moody and stylish, recalling the lost art of skillful ambiguity.

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The King’s Speech (2010)

It seems that “Based on a True Story” is a qualifier used more and more these days.  This year alone contains the films 127 Hours, The Fighter, and The Social Network, which are all “based on…” to varying degrees.  It’s logical that dramatic reality is more compelling than dramatic fiction, and regardless of how truthfully one’s film follows that reality, people are going to respond to it.  The problem then comes when a filmmaker takes advantage of this fact and tells us a story that isn’t entirely worth telling, or a story more intriguing on paper than the screen.  It’s not black and white either, with films like The Social Network telling first-rate tales but taking huge liberties in order to do so.  Luckily, there are films like The King’s Speech, which don’t require any embroidery to astound us.  Films that have found the perfect historical confluence of event and characters and themes.  It’s the rarity of films like this that makes them so special, but in the case of The King’s Speech it’s also the quality of the yarn.  It is surely one of the best stories you’ve never heard.

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