January 6, 2012, - 7:25 am

Wknd Box Office: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Devil Inside

By Debbie Schlussel

I didn’t particularly care for either of the new box office releases out this weekend.

*  “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy“:  I’d looked forward to seeing this, even though John Le Carre a/k/a David Cornwell, the author of the novel on which this book is based, is openly anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian (see, “The Little Drummer Girl” for evidence of that–the villain is a Jewish Israeli and you know who the victims are) and admitted that he desperately wanted to defect and become a spy for the Soviet Union when he worked for Great Britain’s MI-6.  And yet, like all John Le Carre novels turned into movies, including the far-left, sleep-inducing, “The Constant Gardener”  (read my review), this was long and boring.  And it was extremely confusing.  Normally, spy thrillers about double agents are, well, “thrilling.”  This wasn’t.  Even with the always-excellent Gary Oldman as the lead character, it’s still lackluster and dull.


The story takes place during the Cold War.  After an MI-6 agent is murdered in Eastern Europe, it becomes apparent that there is a double agent working for the Soviet Union, and that this agent is in the top ranks of MI-6, the British version of our CIA.  Oldman, who was forced out and made to resign from MI-6, is brought back to find out who the mole is, among a cast of characters, including Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, and others.  The problem is that this was so slow, boring, and confusing that I didn’t care who the mole was.  I frankly wanted them all to be the mole and then executed to get it over with.

This is one of those pretentious movies by a pretentious, left-wing novelist, and we are all expected to like  and fawn over it, or we’re not highbrow or intelligent enough in the eyes of the elitists.  It’s a high-class emperor wears no clothing scenario.  There’s nothing worthy there, but the people have fancy English accents, it’s written by an “intellectual,” and it’s being shown at arthouse theaters.  Therefore, it must be something special, right?  Wrong.

TWO MARXES
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Watch the trailer . . .

*  “The Devil Inside“: It’s obvious why this movie debuted in January, where bad movies are often sent to die. It’s about a girl whose mother was possessed and who killed several people during an exorcism at her house. The girl has grown up and is making a documentary about this. She goes to Rome, where her mother is in a mental hospital. And she recruits some Catholic priests who perform exorcisms without the permission of the Vatican.

While this movie is being marketed as a supernatural thriller, it’s hardly thrilling. It isn’t scary, but mostly silly. I laughed at some of the scenes, which wasn’t the intended result of the filmmakers. Worst of all, the ending is a complete rip-off, and you’ll realize you just wasted nearly an hour and a half for absolutely no reason.

ONE-HALF MARX

Watch the trailer . . .

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30 Responses

On top of it all, it’s “through the mill again” for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” – as it had been done before (and likely just as boringly and pretentiously) in 1979, as a 7-part TV miniseries, with Alec Guinness in the role of Smiley (which he played again in the 1982 follow-up “Smiley’s People” which was all of 6 parts).

And as for the point of “we are all expected to like and fawn over [pretentious movies or TV shows, especially if they’re left-wing], or we’re not highbrow or intelligent enough in the eyes of the elitists” – I’ve had that feeling about “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” the idea that those who like it do so because they’re supposed to like it. And that show had quite a few leftists in its ranks (which may be an understatement).

ConcernedPatriot on January 6, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Gary Oldman may be a fine actor, but why ask him to compete with Alec Guinness? Again, why is Hollywood so obsessed with remakes? Why not film A.J. Quinnell’s Snap Shot, which is very exciting, very pro-Israel-it centers on the 1981 Israeli bombing of the nuclear reactor in Bahgdad-and has never been filmed?

    Miranda Rose Smith on January 8, 2012 at 6:44 am

      The issue is that Hollywood is not so much obsessed with remakes, but rather, that Hollywood has always tended to be mechanical in its marketing strategies. (And the same could be said for the recording and publishing industries, as well.) By mechanical marketing, I mean that if a film with ingredient XRC (e.g., a certain actor, writer, theme, look/sound) makes money, they think they will make money by incorporating that XRC ingredient into the next film project. It is really a strategy of anti-innovation, and is all strictly “me-too” marketing. Within this long-standing system in place, sometimes it’s a marvel that any quality films get made at all.

      Ralph Adamo on January 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Monty Python is a wonderful series for a bright 12 year old to like in the ’70s. Like Dr. Who. But many of the actors in it were idiots or assholes—Chapman, for one, was. And Terry Jones is a loathsome human being.

    But, speaking of Le Carre, anyone who wanted to defect to the Commies has a very serious problem. I tried to read “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold,” but found it horribly dull.

    I’d rather read Tom Kratman, any day of the week. And Tom is a Patriot, unlike that Pathetic Pommie Piece of Purulence.

    Occam's Tool on January 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

There is almost nothing better than a great film and there is almost nothing worse than a crap film. I am so picky about my movies but even so I enjoy the ones I really like.

I got to see one of DS’ 2011 best last week and I LOVED it. “Winter In Wartime”. Please see it if you are interested in a great film. Now THAT’s what I am talking about!

I also saw the original “The Debt” and I liked that very much! I have not seen the remake (and have no need as I usually hate Yank remakes) and from what I recall from the trailer, it was a bit different. Anyway, who cares…I loved the original.

Pity about the Gary Oldman film. He indeed is always so awesome. He seems to be devoted Dad when not an actor so bully for him. I have always like him.

Skunky on January 6, 2012 at 11:48 am

Because of the anti-American, anti-Israeli, anti-Judeo Christian message of Hollywood, I see no more than one film a year in the movie house. My attitude is that Hollywood should be forced to choke on its own vomit; only then will they change their leftist tune.

I recommend that all people simply say no to going to the movies (with the exception of “safe” movies like Harry Potter – nothing anti-West in that movie).

But then again, I rooted for the hunter in “Bambi.” People have to eat, and the deer keep eating my vegetables and flowers.

Jonathan E. Grant on January 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    DITTTTTOOOOOO. Seriously, these days, unfortunately, every time anyone walks into a movie theater, they are actually taking their lives into their hands. Wonderful culture we’ve got now. Another good reason to watch stuff at home.

    samurai on January 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I won’t see anything sourced with John Le Care. His assignment of anti-hero status to Western spies, is nothing but self-loathing in another form. Nothing against Oldman.

Mutt Mutter on January 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Per Jon’s “Hollywood should be forced to choke on its own vomit; only then will they change their leftist tune” comment – Well, Hollywood is convinced that “online piracy” is the reason why their ticket sales last year tanked, and are pushing for legislation (“SOPA”) which, it has been said, would effectively bring our Internet down to the level of that in the most repressive dictatorships (Iran, China, Cuba etc.). Whether all this is true or not (or if those making such assertions are “morons and frauds” a la the Scamela/Slobbert duo as is the case with nutball Bonni Intall’s “Bare Naked Islam”), the fact is NO ONE brings up the uber-leftist, anti-American, anti-Israel, Jew-hating, anti-Judeo/Christian, anti-Western, pan-Muslim, multiculturalist bent of what passes for “entertainment” in movies, that is such a turn-off for potential customers, ON TOP OF the rising ticket prices and what some have noted about texters and cell phone users ruining it for movie audiences. In short, you-know-what will freeze over before Hollywood ever changes its tune at this point.

ConcernedPatriot on January 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I see a new movie or two a week. Very little of that, whether domestic or foreign, can be called Leftist propaganda even by the broadest definition — my apologies if I didn’t find “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” to be anti-American, even if part of it was shot in Dubai.

    Seek on January 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    @CP, Right you are. Damn shame if they get their twisted way.

    samurai on January 7, 2012 at 2:08 am

I thought it was odd that a conservative like Doug Urbanski could co-produce a movie with a leftist like Le Carre. I guess when they are working they must not talk politics.

Daniel Middleman on January 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy a couple of weeks ago out of curiosity. I am not a Le Carre fan. I know his name, but am not a follower of his works. I actually enjoyed the film. True, it is not a fast paced film what so ever. However the film does have some rather intense moments and moments of brutality that catch one off guard. Nor did i find the film very confusing. While a speech, by the Oldman character gives the audience some of the moral equivalency, that the audience has heard before, the Soviets themselves are portrayed as quite brutal in comparison to the actions of the British. Based on what i saw on screen, the film is not exactly a ringing endoresment of those on the British side; however they are portrayed MUCH better than the agents of Communism (whose acts of violence range from shocking to disturbing).

omarso on January 6, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I found LeCarre’s novels extremely boring and too rhetorical for my liking.

In fact, they seem to run against the grain by cheering for the enemy given the times in which they were written.

As for the Devil Inside – I prefer The Exorcist.

So this weekend: SKYRIM!

The Reverend Jacques on January 7, 2012 at 1:23 am

It looks like a rather tedious selection that will not even do well on pay per view. As for Seek, he, she, or it seems to be pushing his Islamic stuff(note the Dubaireference) whether it fits or not.

Worry01 on January 7, 2012 at 2:28 am

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was released over here several months ago and I’d been bouncing around waiting for it for ages. I did like the original series and I was wondering how they’d manage to condense it all into one film.

I loved it. I thought it was beautifully paced – they didn’t go all out to cram action in for the sake of it, but I didn’t find it dragged at all. The cast was superb – Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kathy Burke, the always-superb Tom Hardy, Ciaran Hinds… nothing to complain about there at all. The setting was totally believable, it was so very ’70s in its presentation. I did wonder about the location change, but in the end it didn’t matter. It still worked well.

I know what you mean about Emperor’s New Clothes syndrome. I actually think that about many of Woody Allen’s films, but TTSS was well worth the time and money spent (and anticipated before its release), and I actually have the dvd on preorder – it’s out at the end of the month and I’m actually rather excited about getting it so I can watch the film again and again at my leisure.

Alison on January 7, 2012 at 8:58 am

If you’re trapped inside this weekend and really want to see a movie that will blow you away, I HIGHLY recommend “DOWNFALL,” the fact-inspired,German language(and English subtitled)production about the last months of Hitler inside his bunker, through the eyes of his personal assistant.
It is an absolutely brilliant portrayal by Gantz who should have received the Oscar for lead actor. Let me say, it is NOT a typical “war” film but rather a psychological examination of Hitler finally crossing over the line to insanity. In the same light, this is how the Tom Cruise disaster “Valkyrie” SHOULD have been down. Here is the link to the full-version of Downfall on YouTube. For those who AREN’T big fans of subtitles, I assure you after the first 5 mins or so, you won’t even realize you’re reading them, it is truly that engrossing!
http://youtu.be/O705I-xT6KI

Robert Philip Dean on January 7, 2012 at 9:23 am

    RPD, that is a great recommendation. I enjoyed that one so much. I also hoped “Valkyrie” would have been better than it was. Makes me wanna drop everything and see it right now! (“Downfall”, that is…)

    I love subtitles. I would rather read them than watch a dubbed version. I think you miss so much in a dubbed version. (However, I used to HATE the dubbed version of ‘Mad Max” (the original has strong, Australian accents) until I had saw the original. It was a let down because I had watched the “dubbed” version so many times it became the movie and when finally saw the original, it did not seem real. So weird how that happened…so now I love the dubbed version of “Mad Max”. Go figure.)

    Ganz was indeed awesome in that role. Good pick!

    Skunky on January 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Der Untergang is a riveting movie. Bruno Ganz is an outstanding actor.

    The famous scene of Hitler ranting to his generals has lent itself to various YouTube parodies as with the scene with Hitler and his adjutant Feiglin.

    Its a sustained psychological study of the last days of the Nazi regime. Human pride and hubris goeth before a fall.

    Unfortunately, dictators never seem to learn the lesson about overreaching.

    NormanF on January 7, 2012 at 10:31 pm

What do we have in Hollywood?

Sean Penn, who has never met an ant-American, anti-Semitic dictator he didn’t love,
Woody Allen (ok, technically not a Hollywood person, but still in the business), a man who photographed his sex partner’s 17 year old daughter naked and then marries her,
Roman Polanski, a rapist,
Alec Baldwin, a leftist and a psycho,
Jane Fondle, err, Fonda, a traitor to America,
Mel Gibson, a adulterer, girlfriend beater, racist, anti-Semite,
Wesley Snipes, a tax cheat..
Robert Altman (dead) a left wing director who couldn’t direct himself out of a paper bag,
Shit-Head err, Shirley McClain, another leftist dumber than a doorpost
Venessa Redgrave, Marxist and livid anti-Semite.

Countless drug addicts and alcoholics, communists, etc.

Yup, real healthy group there in the world of moviemaking.

Jonathan E. Grant on January 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Great list JEG!

    And I’d like to poke the stick into Mel Gibson a bit because he deserves it and his free-fall into absolute hypocrisy is stunning. And his shunning is greatly deserved.

    I used to be such a fan. He’s taught me much about how human beings can be (in a very hypocritical way) and they way they really are. His anti-semitism was shocking and what also shocked me was here was a dude who was supposed to be such a devout Catholic…so much so he detested the changes of Vatican II and constructed his own church (which did not acknowledge those changes) but that never stopped him from cheating on his wife, having no-married sex, knocking up his well-paid whore and just about hitting every branch of the religious hypocrisy tree. Niiiiiiiice!

    I usually have no use for those who hate religious people but those usual bigoted idiots are right about MG. He’s made a mockery of how good a religious person can be. I mean, why even bother? Give me an honest atheist any day. And MG has helped feed all those angry atheists who are desperately seeking grist for their mill.

    Skunky on January 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I agree with you.

    The Golden Age Of Hollywood – Debbie would give most of them Reagans.

    It says much about the state of the culture today that no can seem to tell a good story or to act.

    Its been years since I’ve been in the theater and I don’t think I’ve missed much.

    NormanF on January 7, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      There never was “golden age” of Hollywood, in which the only movies made where family friendly pictures, with “correct” American values.

      From B movies to film noir through the anti-hero movement, movies have always pushed and explored boundaries and moral issues. Hollywood has always been as leftist and conservative as it is now.

      petebone on January 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Didn’t you forget Gibson’s former “Lethal Weapon” co-star Danny Glover, who also hearts anti-American dictators (such as Chavez) a la Penn? And the former “Banana Boat” singer, Harry Belafonte (who also acted in a good deal of movies – that is, in the loosest sense of the world).

    ConcernedPatriot on January 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Don’t pick on Snipes too much. His anti-vampirism stance is commendable.

    Helsie Vanling on January 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm

I’d looked forward to seeing this, even though John Le Carre a/k/a David Cornwell, the author of the novel on which this book is based, is openly anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian (see, “The Little Drummer Girl” for evidence of that–the villain is a Jewish Israeli and you know who the victims are.

DECADES ago, my parents, of blessed memory, both told me not to read The Little Drummer Girl: “You’ll have a conniption.”

Miranda Rose Smith on January 8, 2012 at 7:01 am

LeCarre/Cornwell has long been fascinated with and envious of Jews, much as another famous British spy novel writer, Ian Fleming, was. (Think of those “evil masterminds bent on world domination,” with the implied “Jewish” names such as Ernst Blofeld and Auric Goldfinger.)

In LeCarre’s best known novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, the author became so deeply enmeshed in his fascination with Jews that he even developed some insight into his own envy of Jews.

The underlying theme of this novel (and the very well made movie starring Richard Burton and Claire Bloom) is that anti-Semitism trumps the enormous skills that Jews bring to the table. In this novel, the British, in a clever scheme, set out to destroy Fiedler, a top Jewish Communist, in order to protect Mundt, a “former” Nazi serving as a mole for Britain.

The plot also involves Liz Gold, a Jewish Communist librarian, whom the “hero,” Leamas, the Spy “who came in from the cold,” falls in love with. Both Fielder and Gold are ultimately destroyed, as the Communists (like the British) would rather believe the Nazi mole, than the Jew, Fiedler, even though both Fiedler and Gold were depicted as truly dedicated Communists. However, the theme is not “Jews are Communists” as the thin, top layer of the novel would seem to be, but rather, the theme I described.

It is also clear that LeCarre has great empathy for the spy Leamas, if he is not projecting himself onto the character, and that it is tragic that Leamas ultimately sacrifices himself, rather than to continue to be a part of the theme, which he, in death, recognizes to be a lie. LeCarre has never equaled this novel, and it’s likely that the cause of that is that instead of exploring his inner conflicts and working them out in his novels, he has chosen to simply express various mindless, Leftist themes, devoid of any intellect or genuine conflict.

But let’s let Salman Rushdie have the last word on LeCarre….

November 18, 1997,

John le Carré complains that he has been branded an anti-Semite as a result of a politically correct witch-hunt and declares himself innocent of the charge. It would be easier to sympathize with him had he not been so ready to join in an earlier campaign of vilification against a fellow writer.

In 1989, during the worst days of the Islamic attack on The Satanic Verses, le Carré wrote an article (also, if memory serves, in The Guardian) in which he eagerly, and rather pompously, joined forces with my assailants.

It would be gracious if he were to admit that he understands the nature of the Thought Police a little better now that, at least in his own opinion, he’s the one in the line of fire.

Salman Rushdie

Ralph Adamo on January 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    PS: I quote Rushdie’s letter about LeCarre not because I agree with Rushdie, but because they are both two otherwise intelligent writers who SHOULD get it, vis-à-vis Israel and Muslims, but are ultimately too deaf, dumb, and blind, in spite of their previous experiences and observations, to do so.

    Ralph Adamo on January 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm

The Devil Inside made good money, and even the nimcompoops who post at yahoo said it was terrible (admiting they saw it).

So why did it do well? Americans are morons who’d rather believe in superstitions like demonic possession than in the real threats to their lives, such as Islamic insanity.

Helsie Vanling on January 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm

TTSS has a good cast and really seems to capture the era. One thing I didn’t get was the heavy grain on some shots. Is this a new style? I don’t remember ever seeing this before. Could have done without that. I thought the way the story unfolded couldn’t have gotten any more confusing. Can’t say that I get all of the positive reviews this has gotten. Too confusing, probably too slow. Just seemed like a waste of two hours.

Daniel Middleman on January 10, 2012 at 3:58 am

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