Monday, January 16, 2012

Why Should I Care?

This weekend I went to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  I've never read the John LeCarre novel nor did I see the popular mini-series from 1979, so the story was new to me.  A classic spy thriller with an excellent cast - I was excited.


 I can't remember the last time I was so disappointed in a movie.  It wasn't that I couldn't follow the story - altough one member of our group said it was too confusing.  It was that I had no reason to want to.  The very complex plot had so many twists and turns, the movie was unable to do more flash quickly from one to another leaving no opportunity for the viewer to make a connection to any of the characters.  Without that connection, without caring about the charactrers, the whole story became rather pointless.  Torture, betrayal, even murder lose their impact if you have no interest in the people involved.

Perhaps if I had read the novel or seen the mini-series, so that I had some sense of these characters going in, it would have been different.  As it was, I felt as though the whole movie was just an in depth synopsis of the book, giving me the plot but not the story.  Long before the movie was over, I had stopped wondering who the mole was; not because I had figured it out, but because I just didn't care. 

Plot versus character.  Finding the balance.  A critical part of crafting a story.  Watching this movie reminded me why.

How about you?  Have you seen Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy? What did you think of it?  Have you seen or read a story lately that missed the balance between plot and character? 


Groaner of the Day:  A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

(tee hee)

36 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Bummer, I'd wanted to see it. I haven't read the book either although I've caught a little of the mini-series.

Eve said...

I've never seen, or read it. I've never read anything by John LeCarre, although I'm aware of him..I've seen movies like that though, when you just don't care about the characters at all..it makes it so tedious to sit through those. Don't you sometimes wish that everyone on the screen would just die so you could leave? Actually, come to think of it, I suppose there's nothing preventing me from leaving the theatre in those cases! Have a great day LD!

Dru said...

I have no desire to see the movie, not a fan of the author.

I laughed at the groaner.

Mason Canyon said...

Haven't seen the movie or series nor have I read the book. From the previews it sounded a little too good, not I know why. Love the groaner.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Jessica R. Patch said...

I've never even heard of it! :) But your groaner made me giggle.

Have a great week!!!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I didn't see the movie. I do remember watching another movie, Sucker Punch, and hating it for the same reason - I didn't care about the characters.

Okay, I hated almost everything about that movie. But I get your point.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Just saying Hi!

I think I've seen that groaner before, though. Still funny.

LD Masterson said...

Alex - I know everyone's opinion is different and maybe you'd find something in this movie I didn't, but the small group I went with were all very disappointed.

LD Masterson said...

Eve - If I'd been there alone, I would have left. And I rarely walk out on a picture I've paid full price to see.

LD Masterson said...

Dru - Glad you like the groaner. I decided to go with short ones for a while and see how they go over.

LD Masterson said...

Mason - One sad part was the waste of that outstanding cast. Some were almost reduced to multiple cameos.

LD Masterson said...

Jessica - Hey, yours was the third comment in a row that liked the groaner. Love hearing that.

LD Masterson said...

Diane - Exactly. If you don't care about the characters, at least some of them, the whole thing is rather a waste of time.

LD Masterson said...

Stacy - Hi back. Thanks for dropping by.

Clarissa Draper said...

That's so sad because I'm really wanting to watch it. However, I'm reading the story first so hopefully I can follow along better.

MaryC said...

Hi Linda,
I hadn't realized the movie was out until I read a friend's complaints on FB this morning. She had pretty much the same opinion of it as you. She said the only thing that made sense was the sight of people walking out in the middle of it.

Loved the groaner. It made me ... groan.

Jess said...

Hi Linda, thanks for popping over to my blog. Are you going to Killer Nashville this year? I'm still debating ... afraid NOT to go. I might miss something. LOL

Hope you had a good Christmas. Go with your gut when it comes to comments on your WIPS. :/
jess

P.S. I don't go to movies anymore. Watching them at home where I can be loud but comfy has spoiled me.

Cate Masters said...

What a disappointment! The trailer made it seem so intriguing. An excellent reminder about what makes great fiction too - readers have to care.

Jemi Fraser said...

For me, a story is pretty much all about the characters. If I can't care about them, I lose interest VERY quickly (little bit of ADHD going on here... :P). I won't waste my time on that movie!

And tee hee for sure! :)

Angela Brown said...

I haven't seen the movie. But this makes me think of something else. The head hopping that can happen in some books. It works for some, when the character is developed and the 'reason to care' is established before we're hauled off to some other character's POV, but I can certainly understand what you mean when you just don't connect and therefore just don't care.

LD Masterson said...

Clarissa - Since I was able to follow the plot okay in the movie, perhaps having a sense of the characters from the book would make all the difference.

LD Masterson said...

Mary C - Well, there weren't a lot of people walking out but I didn't hear any favorable comments as we were leaving.

Ah, a successful groaner.

LD Masterson said...

Hi Jess - Not sure about Killer Nashville. I'd certainly like to go.

I got some good suggestions from my beta readers - just have to figure out how to use them.

LD Masterson said...

Cate - Indeed.

LD Masterson said...

Jemi - I'm much more character driven than plot driven - in books as well as movies or even TV shows. Like you, without that I lose interest quickly.

LD Masterson said...

Angela - Sometimes head hopping works for me, but only if the author succeeds in letting me connect with each of the characters. If so, I enjoy the multiple POV's.

Sarah Pearson said...

My Honey saw the film. He suggested I watch the series instead :-)

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Started the book. Started the mini-series. Not going to pay good money to not care.

Loved the groaner. Picture it! *wink*

LD Masterson said...

Sarah - I haven't seen the series but it sounds like a good suggestion.

LD Masterson said...

Mary - Smart move.

Jordan said...

:( Meh! I haven't seen it, but was excited to. But I've been hearing the same things you've mentioned and now my excitement has dwindled to a "meh". I'll definitely still see and let you know my thoughts! Thanks for the review.

<3 jorda
JordanDibb.com

LD Masterson said...

Jordan - Please do let me know what you think when you see it.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I have not seen it. It's been kind of off my radar. Who knows if or when i'll get around to it

LD Masterson said...

Sarah - Well, if you miss it, I wouldn't grieve over the loss. *grin*

Mike Keyton said...

It was a disappointment. The book and the TV series are however good. And you do care about the characters.

LD Masterson said...

Mike - I fear this story couldn't be properly told in two hours. Perhaps I'll read the book someday.