- Friday, 03 February 2012
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (Optimum). There’s a secret mole is in the highest reaches of MI6. Smiley is brought out of retirement to flush him out. Smiley is forever identified with Alec Guinness, the ultimate anonymous spy, impassive and inscrutable. Gary Oldman (looking like Michael Redgrave) tackles the role on his own terms. There is a strong performance from John Hurt as Control, especially when he is losing control. The original TV version was spread over 190 minutes. The film lasts only 127 minutes. Convoluted and dense, it is difficult to know what is going on. There is just not enough information to pick out the mole.
DRIVE (Icon). The hero of Nicholas Winding Ref’s pulp thriller is a stunt driver who also uses his driving skills in robberies. Ray Gosling, strong, silent, plays him in such a quiet, modest, detached, impassive manner that when he suddenly turns psychotic, his violence is so excessive and so revolting that you feel you are no longer watching the same person and it spoils the film.
WUTHERING HEIGHTS (Artificial Eye) is fine so long as the hand-held camera concentrates on the rugged moors and wretched weather; but the moment it has to rely on the amateur actors to speak the dialogue, it doesn’t work. It’s a big disappointment for those who had hoped to see Gothic Bronte and passions larger than life. Writer/Director Andrea Arnold has turned Heathcliff into an Afro-Caribbean slave.
THIS LAND IS MINE (Odeon). 1943 American wartime propaganda, set inEurope, directed by Jean Renoir, offers a naïve and artificial debate on what to do when your country is occupied by the Nazis. Should you collaborate or sabotage? Charles Laughton plays a frightened and cowardly schoolteacher and his big moment is when he finds the courage (in an improbable courtroom scene) to deliver an argument in favour of resistance; and he follows it up with a reading of The American Declaration of Rights to his unruly pupils.
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