John le Carré: "Tinker Tailor" the movie of a lifetime

Salon exclusive: The spy fiction icon calls the new film the best adaptation of his work ever

Published December 8, 2011 4:37PM (EST)

 John le Carré.
John le Carré.

Once in a lifetime, if a novelist is very lucky, he gets a movie made of one of his books that has its own life and truth. This is the achievement of Tomas Alfredson and his team.

Yet I have been asked if an American audience -- accustomed to the speed and dash of most movie-making today -- will have the concentration span needed to follow an intelligently paced narrative of some complexity? I believe that audiences are far better at doing this than film-makers give them credit for. This is a movie that entertains superbly and thrillingly at its own pace and rhythm -- a hypnotic movie that takes you over completely. I don't believe that any audience, once introduced to it, will be able to take its eyes off the screen.

In profound ways, it is touching and often alarming. In less profound ways, it is exciting and occasionally very funny. Its complexities are a pleasure to share, and the more so since the movie gently explains them and delivers a satisfying dénouement.

It is a work of art that stays with you, as good works of art do.

By John Le Carre

John Le Carre's novels include "Tinker,Tailor, Soldier, Spy." and "The Tailor of Panama".

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