“Brevity is the soul of wit” Polonius said it, I am attempting to practice it.
TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY
Based on the John Le Carre 1974 novel is a throw- back and excellent adaptation of this spy thriller. If you were intrigued by the novel you will relish this deliberately slow, quiet trek through the dark, murky corridors of subterfuge, espionage, betrayal. Gary Oldman is “George Smiley”, a retired agent of the British Secret Service, recruited to unearth a “mole” in their elite corps; his performance is profound. The cast of agents, all potential “spies”’ includes: David Dencik, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, John Hurt, Ciaran Hinds. Without exception they convey with silence and minimal conversation a thousand words; every actor captures the nuances of his character and if you do not recall the villain in the book, will keep you guessing until the final solution.
The only thing “joyful;” in this film is the “noise”! Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton (who terrifyingly looks the same as she did in the 1980 “9 to 5”) star in this cliché- laden, juvenile scenario of a national Church Choir Competition. Personally I was rooting for “Our lady of Perpetual Tears”; which I was reduced to at the schmaltzy finale.
Up front I must confess I am a huge Walhberg fan, any Wahlberg: especially Donnie ( “Blue Bloods”) and Mark; two of nine children, they have led seasoned lives, flirting with disaster and in Mark’s case, jail time. Maybe it is because of living on the edge, “rapping” brutal fights, incarceration, that his tough roles always seethe with veracity. Such is the case in “Contraband” a preposterous plot involving smuggling, mugging and some hugging. Sign up for the ride; the early show is worth the price; never forget you are watching the real thing; a bad boy who has paid his dues, throwing all that negative energy into positive righteousness.
TWO & 3/4 STARS!!
Even if you fall into this category take a pass on this trite, trivial diatribe of marital angst. Ed Burns (“The Brothers MuMullen”) whose unmistakable talent is squandered on this narcissistic babble and exhausting analytical expose on what formula produces the perfect marriage, relationship. It cost $9,000 to produce, every cent that could have, should have, been spent on counseling.
ONE & 1/2 STARS!