Future Classic Movies: Book-to-Movie Classic’s of Pride and Spies

I previously participated in Future Classic Movie’s blogathon round one in May and here I am again ready for round two. The following is of two movie’s I fell in love immediately after I watched them: Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice (2005) and Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). Both movies are book adaptations and both movies I guarantee have already become instant classic’s.

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Pride & Prejudice“Only the deepest love will persuade me into matrimony.” – E.B.

Before you and I commit to this discussion of Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice (2005) you need to erase all prior P & P adaptations from your mind so that we may continue. Ready? Yes, let’s do this.

I fell in love with Pride & Prejudice after I saw it, no, experienced it. Many people talk about how some book-to-movie movie’s capture the heart and feel of the book, and most of the time they’re lying, but in this case- it’s completely true. Joe Wright brought the Bennett family to life on screen. The interactions between characters was vital to making me believe that this is real. Keira Knightley portrayed Elizabeth Bennett beautifully, in my opinion. She’s a young woman who isn’t afraid of speaking what’s on her mind, even in front of the man she doesn’t know she loves yet. She’s snappy and clever and plays the innocence of a young woman masterfully well. I was interacting with her as I watched her make the wrong choices, including the right ones- which took a ridiculous amount of time for her to reach. I read the novel and I was still unsure if Lizzy Bennett would end up with Mr. Darcy. Oh, Mr. Darcy. The man many woman wish were real. Matthew Macfadyen was Darcy. He was what I pictured him to him to be. Their interactions with one another is electrifying. It’s instantly an attraction that cannot be explained through words but through glances and penetrating eyes into each other’s soul.

In the book you can picture how the couple behaved towards one another and I believe Joe Wrightgave us the perfect image of it on screen. Not only by filming the couple but their surroundings. Displaying the awkwardness for them to be in the beautifully lit room together or their shivering in the rain- it was there for us to feel it too. I was at the edge of my seat as I watched the facial expressions of best couple in the history of romance. I was jealous, desiring to be Lizzy Bennett so that I may be wisked away by Mr. Darcy. That’s how involving this film is! You want to be there because you feel yourself there, interacting with these beings.

This just isn’t just an amazing film solely because of the brilliant cast, but also of feeling as if you are in England while this is happening.  The film  shows the country life the Bennett family lives. With color adding liveliness to the Bennett world. Cotton versus silk dresses. Gold trim versus solid color walls. Finished wood furniture over hand me down products. It shows the classes as well as the lifestyle of high-class society versus the low middle-class displayed in this film.

I could go on and on with this movie, but what I want to leave you with is that this film beautifully and I mean beautifully captured the heart of Jane Austen’s story. Her character’s interactions were respectfully portrayed on screen. The pace was well done in the film that I felt I were turning the page as the minutes went by to the next chapter. I was, and still am to this day, in love with this film that I could cry at the ending every time. It gives you hope and leaves you with that happy sigh you can’t explain to your male companion. And if this entry doesn’t convince you then how about the Oscar nomination for Best Actress for Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Lizzy Bennett? That was one nomination the Academy didn’t wrongly nominate.

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: “We’re not so different, you and I. We’ve both spent our lives looking for the weakness in one another’s systems. Don’t you think it’s time to recognize there is as little worth on your side as there is on mine?” – G.S.

What is there to say about this film that hasn’t already been said? It’s brilliant. Gary Oldman was detective George Smiley in Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). Another book-to-movie adaptation of John le Carrè’s first novel of his Karla trilogy of George Smiley’s search for the secret. What I feel made the movie as successful as it was was the cinematography. It wasn’t clear high def filming but a grainy, gloomy kind of style that is very true to Alfredson’s past projects like Let the Right One (2008). Using this kind of filming made the essence of the movie a true dramatic thriller of a time where no one was sure who to trust. The Swedish director captured and displayed the steady and intense feel of the novel on screen. The mystery is evident.

I love detective films done right. Providing you with evidence that the crime is close to being solved and revealing the enemies who will get in the way of the truth being revealed. It was a never ending circle of who to trust, who to allow in on what information has been taken. The director wasn’t afraid to allow the audience to doubt characters on screen, unaware of where their allegiance lies. He provided us with long takes so that we may look at the surroundings the characters find themselves in. Feeling the environment of George Smiley’s walk home and the shadows of his empty house. The locations added detail to the each man’s personality that when they didn’t speak or interact with others we understood who these persons really were.

Remember those old, grainy black and white films of the detective’s quest? TTSS could have been one of those films because of how antique the film looked. This is the highest compliment I could give the film. I waited for the film to turn to black and white because it felt similar to those kind of movies. Alfredson strengthened the film with the quiet moments where George Smiley and other characters interacted with the audience with only their facial expressions. We knew what was going on inside the mind of George Smiley by the shifting of his eyes and the small crease in his brow. There was little conversation but grand things were said.

I believe this film has already been shelved as future classic. If you follow the film from start to finish, as well as commit yourself to the characters and locations on screen, you can imagine yourself shadowing George Smiley as he reaches the finish line that will reveal all truths that were hidden is dark corners. This film is so powerful with its character interactions and dialog that you cannot argue this to be the top detective film for all others to look up to in years to come.

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About gabthechief

22 years old. Detroit native. Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media studies. Street Photographer. Designer. Dreamer. Young soul wandering.

5 responses to “Future Classic Movies: Book-to-Movie Classic’s of Pride and Spies

  1. Totally agree with you about ”Tinker Tailor.”

    Haven’t seen this version of ”Pride and Prejudice,” but, after reading your write-up and gazing over the beautiful photos from it, I’m definitely a lot more interested in viewing it now!

  2. Thanks for writing another great Future Classic Movies post! Re: P & P, we’ve talked about the versions before, and as you know, I’m in the ’90s BBC camp, but I have to say the 2005 film ~is~ gorgeously shot and Keira Knightley does do a really good job. I agree there are times in the novel when it doesn’t seem they’ll get together…credit to Jane Austen…it’s tough to preserve that suspense in a movie version when most people are already familiar with the story. In this respect, I think the 2005 version may actually have the edge {gasp}

    So glad you picked TTSS! It is supposedly too “slow”/”boring” for many people but it is a favorite of mine and I think it will remain so. I think you nailed it when you said, “The director wasn’t afraid to allow the audience to doubt characters on screen, unaware of where their allegiance lies.”

    Thanks again for writing and also for putting this up on WP 🙂

    • Paula,

      I had this feeling tingling down my spine as I wrote and took notes for P & P that you’ll mention the miniseries. 🙂 I am glad you kept an open mind about the 2005 movie version of the novel. There are some characters taken out of the film but I felt it was necessary with the look the movie was giving off. It was a youthier look to it that I felt makes it more relatable to the a new generation.

      • LOL! Re: removing characters…the 90s version is a miniseries & had a the luxury of including EVerything so that may be an unfair advantage. Also, i watched some clips from the 2005 and I like how the Bennett family’s costumes are kind of raggedy compared to everyone else. Which is huge to the plot. So in other words, you may be wearing me down.

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