The Adventures of Tin Tin (2011)
I can honestly say that this movie blew my expectations out the front door, down that cockney street and out into the ocean.
I remember the Tin Tin comics but I never read them mostly because of the cartoonist’s rendition of the boy. Indirectly, I always thought Tin Tin was the dog…
This movie is what you would get if Woodward and Bernstein had a three-way with Bond at least if you can put down any latent homophobia and realize how awesome the result would actually be. You’ve got a journalist who lacks the moral and credibility issues of a covert spy who gets to capitalize on the awesomeness of the early transitional nature of hard-broiled detective stories before they segued into cold war spy novels. You get a guy who wants the truth, who wants clear facts and answers and quite often gets them and neutralizes the enemy. With the fragmentary nature of intelligence and the moral ambiguity of politicized covert paramilitary action, this would never actually happen in real life. And if you think a journalist could actually be the answer then go find one of the past contributors of Ramparts. This movie is what you get when you don’t want the truth and you don’t want the real world, when you want something more mysterious and slapstick and fun. This movie is the reminiscent anodyne to The War on Terror.
We can handle a tough guy hero who shoots at people, punches and kicks his way through henchmen, infiltrates, spys, finds secret messages, figures out hidden clues, runs surveilance, travels to foreign states without clear overt diplomatic introductions, and causes a significant amount of property damage along the way as long as we are firmly convinced of the trenchant morality of the man and his mission. Guess what? We don’t have that anymore. Our intelligence agencies are caught up in rendition and torture and authoritarian police state domestic tactics that we don’t particularly want them to be doing and are going to likely have catastrophic consequences in international relations in the future. But you know what? We WANT them to be our heroes. We want them to reel it in and come back to what a democratic society is instead of what they think must be done to protect it. Come back to us, change, be better, be moral and ethically disciplined, reject the notion that we would be grateful if we only knew what dirty deeds you were doing to save us, put aside the notion that secrecy for secrecy’s sake is just good intelligence work, for the love of God please stop your new Project Phoenix at your new black sites. Be new, be better. Don’t be what you actually were when we idolized you, be what we thought you were. Be our heroes again.
Because until you do, we’re going to keep making these new old movies set in a different time when we could have the heroes we wanted. No one is going to want to see a movie made about drone strikes and enhanced interrogation except the torture porn fans and they’re going to be disappointed that the subjects are -ethnically stereotyped Other- completely lacking in blonde hair and big boobies. Do you really want to be responsible for making those perverts consider morality and social norms? Might as well curse them to only watching nature documentaries while you’re at it. I hope you’re real proud now! “It’s alright buddy, they’re playing a double-feature of Saw 17 and Hostel part 24 down at the movie theater.”
If you can’t be the spies we wished you were then at least be the men and women we would want you to be.