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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

A movie directed by Tomas Alfredson

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A in-depth ride through the life of secret agents that use their minds as weapons instead of fists.

  • Jan 9, 2012

Tomas Alfredson's adaptation of the spy-novel written by John Le Carre while not sticking to the roots it still powders the atmosphere with a thrilling sense of intelligent and masked conspiracy that will blow your mind. One of the most beautiful in-depth rides through the life of secret agents that use their minds as weapons instead of their fists and guns. Controlled, seductive, and eloquent, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" offers moments of a stylized manifesto of the secret underworld of intelligence.

Written by Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan and with the acceptance and guidance of John Le Carre, the screenplay is one of the most detailed and well-connected pieces of work I've seen this year on screen. It adds tension and a terrific momentum of curiosity. The dialogue fleshes the behavior of the characters perfectly while adding tons of details to the already impeccable developing of these pieces of the puzzle. The story is not hard to follow if you're paying attention. It's actually easy since there are already too many details given away in my opinion. I heard complaints but I don't buy them. Those poor fellas maybe had problem keeping their mind on top of their eyes and forehead. The story revolves around the uncovering of a soviet agent within MI6's top level branch (named The Circus). Control (John Hurt), the Circus Chief found out about a mole being present. He then codenamed the suspects; Percy Alleline as Tinker (Toby Jones), Bill Haydon as Tailor (Colin Firth), Roy Bland as Soldier (Ciaran Hinds), and Toby Esterhase as Poorman (David Dencik), George Smiley (Gary Oldman) being left the last of the five as simply "Smiley". Other characters like field agent Ricky Tarr (Tom Hardy), agent Connie Sachs (Kathy Burke), field agent Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong), and the intelligence officer Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), all playing major roles in the unveiling of this big mystery.

Developed like a puzzle, each segment of the film uncovers a clue or sells a key to our patient smiling doorman. Be aware that this movie will entrap you in a labyrinth from which you can get out only by paying attention to the various pieces of information displayed on the big screen. I'm not saying though that the movie can't become predictable at one point, but the narrative execution of this film will surely keep you more than entertained. Driven by it's well-shaped characters, Tinker might be seen even as a character centered film. To me, it didn't feel like it, but I can honestly understand why for some it may. What I loved more was the fact that Alfredson succeeded to portray intelligent agencies with utmost accuracy. It's always good to get a story in which our protagonists solve their problems by using their own head instead of jumping around from plane to plane waving guns at ferocious terrorists. I personally prefer a "slow-paced" with good intentions thrilling drama than a fast-paced carousel of action.

The acting was on par with the script. Well contrasted with the grey tempo of the film. Gary Oldman offers a nuanced performance, calibrated with a grain of silence as the controlled, restrained, and sensitive yet cold-minded secret agent George Smiley. Every other single role was handled perfectly showing a feast of mature acting and beautiful chemistry. The most notable performances besides Oldman's being Tom Hardy's, Mark Strong's, and Benedict Cumberbatch's,

The technical execution was great as far as cinematography and editing goes but the music left me in a state of so-and-so. While I did enjoyed some moments, while I thought that the choice behind the music for some parts of the film was more than just smart (example being the ending scene), some choices didn't work. I understood the presence of the silent in this film but I think some scenes required more dramatism. I wanted to be more emotionally stirred. I didn't felt that the whole time of the film which is a bit of a pity. However, the rest of the useful tools like set-decors, costume design and so on were spot-on. Well crafted and intelligently mannered.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy conducts the audience in places barely seen and understood. The depths of this den of secrecy full of lizards and ghosts is a torture for the human being. We can very well see the impact on characters like Ricky Tarr or Jim Prideaux and especially George Smiley. It has a great amount of tension and several tiny dozes of heart that make this movie sweeter than it appears to be. I recommend this film to be taken with a grain of pepper and not salt, and I recommend to those who can't afford to be patient to not see this film as you won't value it and won't give it it's true merits.

Storyline/Dialogue: 9.5
Acting: 9.5
Technical Execution: 7.8
Replay Value: 8
Overall: 8.9

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January 15, 2012
I thought I had already commented on this review, but I suppose I was mistaken. As you can tell from my review, I really liked this film. It was simple and yet its simplicity was engrossing. I loved your comment "The depths of this den of secrecy full of lizards and ghosts is a torture for the human being." whoa I wished I thought of that. Fabulous review!
January 17, 2012
thanks. I'll post my War Horse review in few hours...
More Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy reviews
review by . December 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A Rare, Methodical, Tense, Mind-Numbing Spy Drama For The Experienced Film Fan
Director Tomas Alfredson is a Swedish director responsible for the internationally acclaimed vampire film “Let The Right One In” which I loved so it would come as no surprise that I would be drawn to this British espionage thriller-drama “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”. Based on the novel by John le Carre which was later adapted into a British TV series, this is a film that demands a lot of concentration and persistence; it is utterly realistic, relies on its dialogue, performances …
review by . January 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
What a pleasure it is to see a movie written, directed and acted by adults, for adults. No fiery blasts, no gruesome close-ups, no half-baked actor-heroes running around in tights as insects or small mammals. No, just a literate and complex script, a story told deliberately but not slowly which captures and keeps our attention, and actors who are so good they can say one thing, mean another, and who knows which is which? Because Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a John LeCarre spy story, there’s …
review by . December 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is an espionage film that isn’t about action and special effects so much as systematic investigation. There’s an analytical process at work, a logical deconstruction of the situation at hand. This isn’t to suggest that the film is a cold collection of facts and figures; in its narrative methodology, it’s a deeply involving mystery, and at times, it’s highly thrilling. We want to get to the …
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Julian Left ()
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