Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Like the British miniseries, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is painstakingly slow-moving. This is, of course, not a criticism. In fact, when you add intelligent dialogue and brilliant acting to that, you’ve got a winner. But there’s more. Tomas Alfredson has managed to perfectly recreate the feel of John le Carre’s 1974 spy novel, with its dark grey and brown palette and its dour performances. Those performances convey the real dreariness and horror of being a British Cold War spy, unlike a certain Bond fellow who usually treats it all rather lightly.

In Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, George Smiley, recently dismissed, is called back to hunt for a mole at the very top of MI6. Gary Oldman’s performance as Smiley is particularly outstanding, but he has lots of excellent support, notably from Colin Firth, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy.

But despite the fact that the screenplay is well-written and well-paced, it is also the film’s biggest flaw. A slow-moving spy film should not require the many sudden leaps of logic which Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy contains. At least three times it was impossible for me to figure out how Smiley got from point A to point B in his investigations. The sold-out crowd around me (it was opening night) shared my opinion on this, as I heard person after person say they were hopelessly lost and could not figure out what was going on half the time. As a lover of spy films, I wasn’t lost, just frustrated. Without this flaw, TTSS would surely have made it into my top ten films of 2011. Another easy ***+. My mug is up.

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