Welcome to the latest edition of 24 Frames. Sahara Shrestha and Andrew Jamieson will be guiding you through the exciting, confusing and often brilliant world of 'film'. Expect news, trailers and plenty of opinion.

The latest edition is brought to you by Andrew Jamieson, who can be found on twitter over at @theghostwriterc.



The 'Tailored to Perfection' Edition

Next month sees the third anniversary of the death of screenwriter Bridget O'Connor who sadly passed away on 22nd September 2010. Upon writing this article I would like to dedicate it to the playwright and screenwriter by offering a review on one of the movies she co-wrote with Peter Straughan: Tomas Alfredson's adaptation of the stellar Jim Le Carre novel 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' which was released in 2011.

The movie itself represents a triumph of cinematic scope in that it manages to condense a labyrinthine novel into a concise, deceptively visceral, intimate and exciting movie. The plot focuses upon the search for a corrupt soviet double agent during the cold war in the British Special Intelligence Service (or MI6 as it is widely known today).

The movie centres around George Smiley and his investigation to find the mole. Smiley is played here by Gary Oldman in a role originally made famous on British television by Sir Alec Guinness in the late 1970s. Here Smiley is played by Oldman as an intelligence agent who appears to be frozen and constricted behind his glasses, and yet Smiley's apparent social awkwardness actually hides a brilliant mind. Gary Oldman portrays a weary hearted but brilliant man. Oldman is ably supported by the best British talent working today in Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, John Hurt and Ciaran Hinds. The movie also features two excellent performances from Kathy Burke and in particular Svetlana Khodchenkova (who has also just appeared onscreen in The Wolverine with Hugh Jackman).

  • Gary Oldman as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, who gave us the wonderful fairy tale like vampire story Let the Right One In in 2008, crafts a multi-layered piece of cinema that is faithful to its source material and transcends it at the same time. The archetype of the intelligence agent is a movie staple with its most famous patron being James Bond, who is also a literary creation by the renowned Ian Fleming. At the time this movie was released many commentators complimented the movie for being so far away from Fleming's Martini drinking secret agent. However I would say that Bond is simply a more glamorous and fictionalized interpretation of the same fictional archetype.

What Alfredson manages to do here is to portray the truly sombre world of espionage the tone of this movie is thematically in tune with Kathryn Bigelow's 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty. The battles fought by the protagonists in both movies is one that is all consuming a battle whose folly results in the destruction of relationships and human dignity. What is also prevalent here is the fact that the world of espionage and our universal human desires and flaws are not two disparate entities, they instead act in unison. As Le Carre himself has said, the secrets, conceits and humanity at play in other jobs and 'normal' human life also resonate in the world of espionage, which is why we gravitate toward these movies on a subconscious level. It is to Alfredson's and his screenwriters credit that this paradox is so acutely portrayed in a two hour movie.

In some movies flashbacks and spoken narration from characters can be beguiling - in Tinker Tailor these asides form both a contextual base for the narrative and drive the plot forward at the same time. A repressed homoerotic tone runs throughout the picture as we focus upon a group of men who cannot reconcile their relationships with each other as they sit in rooms without windows or relatable lovers, whether male or female.

The cinematography and period design is second to none, this is not the brightly lit London that we see in Danny Boyle's Trance - 2012 or even Skyfall - 2012 it is a sombre cigarette paper of a city that is beautifully realised by the director of photography Hoyte Van Hoytema who is currently working with the director Christopher Nolan on Interstellar. The movie also uses British culture as a character itself, this is humorously brought to realisation as Smiley betrays the tense conclusion of the movie and eats a Trebor mint to steady his nerves (Trebor has been a staple of British confectionary since 1824). It is references like this that convey that smiley is a literary icon directly alongside his other more glamorous contemporary James Bond.

  • Svetlana Khodchenkova as Irina in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Finally I would say that the ability to turn great literature into great cinema is not a process that is not always as successful as the organic and beautiful one we have here. I would like to thank Bridget O'Connor for this script; this one was tailored to perfection.