Author: John Le Carre
Narrator: Michael Jayston
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Format: Audio Book
Film/Director: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong
DVD Release: 3/20/12
Grade: Audio book–B- / Film–A+
Disclosure: I received a review copy of the audio book from Penguin Group. The opinions expressed in this film are strictly my own, and I received no compensation for this review. I purchased my own copy of the DVD.
The Book: I strongly suspect I might have scored the book more highly had I been reading it rather than listening to it. It goes back and forth between present and past, and can be hard to follow in an audio version. The narration is splendid. It very much caught my attention right off the bat. I liked it enough that I plan to purchase it for my e-reader and give it a go.
The Movie: The movie has strengths that the audio book lacks in regard to being able to follow whether a scene is set in the past or in the present. So that alone bumps the score up higher. The cast is absolutely stellar. Gary Oldman in the role of Smiley is very compelling, as is John Hurt’s Control. I wonder how I would have perceived the movie had I not listened to the book first–it was interesting watching my husband try to figure things out, but he wandered off to take care of something else and missed quite a bit of it.
One thing that I loved how the way the movie handled it was Smiley’s estranged wife, Ann. She’s a character in the novel only in how Smiley and others have perceived her, how they remember and talk about her. In the movie we see her back, but we never once get to see how she really feels or what she really knows about anything. It was brilliantly done.
Book vs. Movie? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Movie. All the way.