How to describe Tinker…Tailor…Soldier…Spy? Very…Good…Very…Slow.
It’s considered one of the best films of 2o11 and with good reason. The main obstacle is trying to stay awake through this plodding British production along enough to enjoy the payoff at the end.
Before I continue on with my review, lets play cat and mouse with some trailers.
TRAILERS ATTACHED TO TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY:
The Grey- Liam Neeson. Part actor, part bare knuckle fighter. Correction… he has glass bottles on his knuckles this time. I almost feel sorry for those killer wolves. : I Will Be There Opening Night!
Red Tails- This movie wants to be an important historical film. It tries too hard. It’s difficult for a movie like this to live up to it’s said importance. Give me 1989′s Glory. : Sell My Stock!
Underworld Awakening- Kate Beckinsale needs to fire her agent or divorce her husband. Her husband directs her in all these awful vampire movies. : Sell My Stock!
Contraband- Why is Mark Wahlberg still making movies like these? This is the kind of bad movie Entourage’s Vincent Chase was making back in season 1. : Sell My Stock!
NOW ON WITH THE MAIN EVENT…
Set in the early 1970s during the Cold War, the head of British Intelligence, Control (John Hurt), resigns after an operation in Budapest goes badly wrong. Control believed one of four senior figures in the service was in fact a Russian agent – a mole – and the Hungary operation was an attempt to identify which of them it was. George Smiley (Gary Oldman) had been forced into retirement by the departure of Control, but is asked by a senior government figure to investigate a story told to him by a rogue agent, Ricky Tarr (Tom Hardy), that there was a mole. Smiley considers that the failure of the Hungary operation and the continuing success of Operation Witchcraft (an apparent source of significant Soviet intelligence) confirms this, and takes up the task of finding him. Through the efforts of Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), Smiley obtains information that eventually leads him to the agent at the heart of the Hungary fiasco.
If there was an award for best British cast, Tinker Tailor would win hands down. Gary Oldman (the best living actor to have never gotten an Oscar nomination) carries the film and barely has any dialogue. He says more with a long look or the turn of a head than he could with words.
Tom Hardy gives a solid performance. I think of him as the young British Brando. Look for him to become huge after The Dark Knight Rises, where he plays Bane, opens up this July. Benedict Cumberbatch (best British name ever!) does well as Smiley’s assistant in the mole hunt. Mark Strong, Toby Jones, John Hurt, Oscar winner Colin Firth…the great acting goes on and on.
The problem I had with Tinker was the fact it was like watching paint dry. Maybe beautiful painted colors, but still dull. There is subtle and then there is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Director Tomas Alfredson does an excellent job of setting the mood, his film just needs a slight push once in awhile.
The film is based on master spy novelist John le Carre’s 1974 best seller. These characters look like real spies. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching James Bond and Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt…but they’re action heroes playing spies. Tinker Tailor shows us what real spy work is all about and how they truly appear (or not) to be.
I liked this movie and wish it could have just given me a little bit more oomph to work with.
I give TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY *** out of ****.