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Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Posted January 13, 2012 by Max in Review

Everything happens at the circus. Gary Oldman captures the screen and never let’s go, in Thomas Alfredson’s new adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. A line up of Britain’s brightest actors come together to retell the story of Smiley and his search for a spy in the highest level of English intelligence. Not political thriller by any means, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy weaves an intricate tale that only the most dedicated viewer will be able to follow.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy starts right in the middle of the action. One of the top-level agents has been killed in a mission trying to find the mole in British intelligence. Both the head of the department (Control) and Smiley decide it would be best to remove themselves from the equation at the circus and step down. After the death of Control, Smiley is given the task of finding the mole.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy doesn’t hold anybody’s hand. I’d even go as far, that its assumed that you’ve seen some version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy before and this is just a retelling. The film won’t explain anything and if you miss the dialog featuring code names or an actors reason for appearing in the piece your going to be lost. After the screening of the film, I had two questions that I had to discuss with others in my group about different events that had happened. Alfredson directed this movie very similar to Terrence Malick in a sense. The film is told through the small details that aren’t told, but seen.

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If the political intrigue fails to grasp hold, there’s always the A-list British actors on hand. It’s almost as if the casting director went through their Rolodex and selected the all-star team. Gary Oldman deserves the highest praise, a dedicated agent working outside the lines in order to discover the corruption in the government. While Smiley never really shows a high level of grief or happiness, his even keel is kept sharp throughout the run-time of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. His supporting cast certainly helps matters featuring; Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch, and an unrecognizable Tom Hardy.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is not without its faults. The length of the picture is a little long in the teeth and the complex story within a story approach may lose a lot of interested viewers. It’s practically assumed you’ve either read John Le Carre’s classic novel or seen an earlier adaptation before seeing this version. It’s a slight disappointment that this picture doesn’t shine as bright for Alfredson as his previous film (Let the Right One In) did. Those who can follow Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy will be in for an enjoyable mystery featuring some of the best actors in the game.

4 Hearts / 5


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About the Author


Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.