Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Every now and again a film appears, that without seeing it people are assured of its quality, impeccable style and class. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is one of them. Based on the 1974 novel by John Le Carré, Tinker Tailor is centered around George Smiley’s (Gary Oldman) experience of the cold war and his escapades within ‘The Circus’, the highest echelon in the SIS. Through flashbacks and current time events we see Smiley trying to point out the mole within the organization.

With an impeccable array of actors, ranging from the newly christened king of British cinema, Colin Firth to Shakespearean veterans like John Hurt and Ciaran Hinds my money would be on at least three nominations from this film by default. When you get a period piece smouldering with the Secret Service and Russian spies mixed with the best and brightest of British cinema, there’s really nothing that can go wrong, right?

Well, not really. All in all Tinker Tailor shows mastery in cinematography and mood. It’s highly stylistic, relying on a slow, cumulative storytelling that rewards the patient viewer. It’s complex and multilayered, and at no point falls to the shortcomings of blockbustery, dumbing itself down in order to appeal to a wider audience. It’s smart and surprising, without getting too serious.

On the outside Tinker Tailor holds the keys to becoming an instant classic but for some reason, it didn’t hit the jackpot with me. It’s possible that Tinker Tailor is one of those ones you have to watch again and again to truly appreciate its subtle prowess, but no instant umph it has. Sometimes people call it ‘the certain something’, that extra vigour that makes you feel alive, excited and passionate.

Of course, this doesn’t in anyway take away from the actors, who all deliver but there are two who I believe deserve to be especially hailed for the roles; Mark Strong and Tom Hardy (if you were looking for me to name Oldman and Firth, you’re in the wrong place). Strong’s portrayal of Jim Prideaux is a silent yet srtong performance by a guy who gets way too little recognition, whilst being truly prolific and consistent in his work. Hardy on the other hand, ones again proves what a breath of fresh air he can be to a film, as he plays Ricki Tarr’s wide range of states.

Deserving, and in need of a second viewing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is. As it’s storyline is complicated and filled with excellent characters, at times it can be hard to keep up with. Because it’s slow, not everyone would have patience for it (a girl sitting behind me endured for the first hour and 50 minutes, giving up right before the last dramatic fifteen .. who does that?).

I have to say, Tomas Alfredson is starting to gather quite the CV for himself. The Swedish talent broke onto the scene with Låt den rätte komma in (Let The Right One In), highly praised as one of the best genre films of recent years. He hasn’t announced his next move yet, but whatever it is, I’ll by on the edge of my seat waiting, salivating.

With Tinker Tailor, the Oscar season has begun, and has been given a well worthy start.

8 / 10

You Will Like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy If…

– you are prepared for acting talent galore.
– the perfect balance of style and substance seems intriguing to you.
– you want to place your Oscar betting odds early.

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24 responses to “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

  1. Fyra nyanser av brunt is also bloody brilliant! It’s so funny it hurts, so you should definitely check that one out if you’re interested in Alfredsons work.

  2. I hate people who leave movies early…unless they don’t know what they signed up for.

    There is no review that could tell me not to see this…but its nice hearing some more praise for it. Glad to see you got internet back!

    • The weirdest thing was, it was only ten minutes before the end.. I mean, If you’ve stayed for that long might as well do the 10 more minutes. Unless you’re going to puke..

      I wish I had my internet, this was a public library venture. At least two more weeks!

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    • Well TBH I’m not one of them who never give out 10outof10 so. I think there are plenty 10outof10 movies, not saying that they’re perfect but very close to. Or perfect in the inperfections.

  5. Sounds great. I was hoping Mark Strong would manage to break out off the cast’s background, no easy task with Oldman, Firth, Hardy and Hurt.

  6. Wow this looks promising. Good review. I’ve never been a huge fan of Gary Oldman, but Hardy, Firth, Jones etc. are really some great actors. And all of them in the same movie! I really hope this will get released in here..

    Well, maybe I’ll warm up with with that Låt den rätte komma in. At least a taste what to expect.

  7. It’s great to hear this is living up to expectations. Can’t wait to see it. When I first heard about the film I was so happy to see Gary Oldham in a lead role. He’s such a great actor and yet far too often he takes a supporting/backseat role.

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  10. While its been wonderful to see him make a comeback from his straight-to-DVD slump and receive loads of mainstream recognition for his supporting roles in the recent Batman and Harry Potter movies Ive just really missed the days where he was the focus of the film and it looks like those days are back at least for now..While we have already posted our fair share about his upcoming Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy there has been a new trailer released for it which means new footage to get excited over.

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