Well, actually not a double feature, given that it would have made for 8 hours or more of viewing in one day if I’d taken in these two films back-to-back, though I did watch them over a successive number of days during the course of one week. Still, it was close enough.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, dir. by Tomas Alfredson (2011)
I watched this when it was first out on DVD — it was in and out of my local theater so quickly I never even had time to realize what I’d missed before it was gone — and loved it before my daughter took a copy from the local library. When she tried to watch it she could hardly make it all the way through, because she thought it was boring. Now, you can make the argument that because she’s 16 she’s probably got a short attention span and prefers Justin Beiber and MTV-style editing, etc. Except, when I watched Tree of Life she watched the whole thing with me and then, when I bought the DVD, she watched it again. Obviously, she’s not afraid of challenging movies, though I don’t know what conclusions I should draw.
I, on the other hand, have see TTSS twice now and could go on watching it again and again. And why shouldn’t I? What better way to unwind the mystery and the story and the nooks and crannies than actually exploring them again and again?
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy dir. by John Irvin (1979)
Because they tell the exact same story, I was obviously not surprised by the revelation in the mini-series, but even so, the mystery of the entire story is so dense that even having another chance to try to puzzle it out added all the drama to the story that I needed.
Anyway, as much as I enjoyed the 1979 mini-series — almost all of it — it could not hold a candle to the remake. Yes, it managed to get more of the story and the nuance and subtlety of the story and everything else in — I have no doubts it’s closer in spirit to the book than the remake — but it also took 6 hours doing it and, in delivering it, ignored the fact that movies/TV mini-series need to work cinematically first, story-wise second.
So, where the remake was mysterious, and cinematic, and left the viewer to draw their own conclusions on many points, the original mini-series was overlong, bland, and unimaginative, with an ending that just when on and on and on until it couldn’t get any more obvious.
Still, despite that, I enjoyed it.
(Sorry, guess this isn’t exactly a Terse Movie Review, given the length. Still, sometimes you just gotta let things breathe.)