Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tagline : How do you find an enemy who is hidden right before your eyes?

Runtime : 127 mins

Genre : Drama Thriller Mystery

Vote Rating : 6.6/10

Budget : 30 million $ USD

Revenue : 80.6 million $ USD


Movie Website

Plot : In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet mole within his former colleagues at the heart of MI6.

Cast Members

Reviews

The russians have placed a mole within the Circus (who is the british intelligence service, by the way). George Smiley (Gary Oldman), having been fired from the Circus, has now been rehired (secretly) to find the mole. He assembles his small team and begins to look into the matters. The possibilities are plenty, Percy (Toby Jones), Esterhase (David Dencik), Roy Bland (Ciaran Hinds) and Bill Haydon (Colin Firth). His old friend, Control (John Hurt), even suspected George himself of being the mole. This movie is directed by a personal favorite of mine, Tomas Alfredson, who also created the vampire movie, _Let the Right One In_ (Lad den rette komme ind), as well as the amazing, _Four Shades of Brown_ (fire nuancer af brun). He is a master of creating a dark and mysterious atmosphere, and does exactly that in this movie. The pace is slow, the music is scarce and the colours are old and faded, perfect for a spy movie such as this. Watching this movie is like watching a puzzle being carefully put together in front of you. It takes time to get it just right, and you have to look carefully at all the pieces. Good things takes time, and this movie understands that. The viewer has to watch carefully, because it constantly goes from the present and into the past. People who have died, are resurrected in the memories of the past, to help us construct the final image. _Last words... this movie will not appeal to everyone, it requires the viewer to be active, watch carefully, and to appreciate the slow narrative. I will gladly admit that I have tried watching this movie three times before I finally succeeded in watching all of it. I am not normally a fan of these sort of movies, but I can always appreciate spectacular acting, and the craftmanship of a truly great director, and so, this movie becomes so much more than just a spy movie. It becomes a movie about people living on the edge of a war, trying to survive, trying to find the one threat that might break down the wall and destroy the british empire._

Great cast, nice cinematography and a fascinating plot. 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' is very much a slow burn but it's worth it at the end, even if I wouldn't describe the premise as unpredictable - it isn't predictable per se, I just can't say I was majorly surprised at what occurs that's all. It's not as complicated as the film suggests I feel, that's not a criticism but I'm just saying if I wrote down what I thought was going to happen at the start and checked it at the end, I'd be mostly right - at least with an outline. That's not me being big headed, I just feel it throws a lot of false curve balls to go around the houses a tad. The only part, to be honest, I didn't fully get while watching was the Polyakov bits. All the cast give excellent performances, with Gary Oldman (Smiley) and Colin Firth (Haydon) standing out most. You've also got Tom Hardy (Tarr), Mark Strong (Prideaux), Benedict Cumberbatch (Guillam), Stephen Graham (Westerby) and Toby Jones (Alleline) all there too. You can't really go wrong with a list like that. The onscreen talent carry events, but this is still a film that keeps you watching and paying attention - just not to a deep, deep level. With everything said, I still enjoyed this. You should definitely give it a view.

**Despite a great cast and good script material, the film is tiring, stagnant, a bit gray and boring to watch.** This film is a remake of an older film from 1973 (I haven't seen it yet, but I intend to), both of which are film adaptations of a spy novel that was written by John Le Carrée. Being the original story known for its quality and this film being an elaborate super production and with a cast full of established names, I was expecting a great film… but the truth is that I felt disappointed in that expectation. The movie is not as interesting and good as I would have liked. In fact, the film has a lot of well-known actors, with the strongest and most impactful performance given to us by an experienced Gary Oldman. The actor regained his native English accent and was able to masterfully adapt to the character, fully deserving the Oscar nomination for Best Actor he received that year. Besides him, Toby Jones and Colin Firth were also in great shape in this film, but Benedict Cumberbatch, John Hurt and Tom Hardy are not far behind them. The story is relatively simple: in the midst of Cold War intrigue, MI6 tried to help a Soviet officer defect in Budapest. This officer knew the identity of a double agent, undercover in the British services. However, the operation goes very badly and it becomes evident to the leaders of MI6 that there really are one or more traitors, very well placed within the secret service. To find out who they are, they call in George Smiley, a retired agent with a lot of experience. On a technical level, I can't help but appreciate the dark cinematography and the way it tries to recreate the dirty, foggy and somewhat paranoid atmosphere of Cold War London, in addition to the atmosphere of British houses of that time and all the effort of the set and costumes. The film is effective in its effort to transport us to the time and context, and manages to place itself in a pleasantly paranoid environment, where everyone is suspicious of everyone else. It's not an action movie and, therefore, the effects are few and discreet, functional. Despite strong performances from the cast and excellent source material and well-written script, the film has two main issues: atmosphere and pacing. Tomas Alfredson deliberately slowed the film, and that makes the film tiresome and boring, if you add the lack of movement, the endless dialogue, the way each action and movement takes as long as possible in front of the camera. Also, one has to be very attentive to the names of the various characters, and their role in the film, or we will never understand the plot while watching the film.

Many folks will remember the wonderful BBC adaptation of this John Le Carré story that featured the late Sir Alec Guinness as the measured and sagely "George Smiley" character. This time, this almost as superior adaptation places an on-form Gary Oldman in that role. What role? Well having just been pensioned off, he is re-recruited by "C" (John Hurt) to try and track down a KGB spy deep within the fabric of MI6. It's fair to say that, as this story starts to unfold, we discover there are plenty of suspects and the classily written story bombards us with characterful and suspicious scenarios that might be true, might be half-true, or might just be genuine red herrings! A formidable cast of British stalwarts add richness to this complex but not convoluted tale of deceit and betrayal. Tom Hardy, Colin Firth and even the usually unimpressive Mark Strong chip in well but my plaudits go to the truly odiously ambitious Toby Jones ("Alieline") and to Benedict Cumberbatch's "Guillam". Tomas Alfredson has paced this film well. It can appear slow at times, but on the second time of watching I appreciated there was much more substance to some of the dialogue, the nuanced efforts from the stars and from a very well crafted period production. It just goes to show that less can definately be more when the writing and acting do all the heavy lifting in concert, leaving the pyrotechnics and visual effects in their boxes.

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