Saturday, 8 September 2012

FILM: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (6/10)

Why did I watch it?
My other half came home from the shop with this the other day. I was looked forward to watching it mainly because of the fantastic British cast, Oscar nominations for adapted screenplay and best actor and the fact that John Le Carre's book has long been on my list of books to read.

What's it all about?
Tinker Tailor Solider Spy is the first feature length film adaptation of John Le Carre's well respected spy novel of the same name. Set in the early 70's, in the midst of the Cold War, the film follows retired spy George Smiley (Gary Oldman) as he is tasked with uncovering a suspected mole in the British spy fraternity known as 'the Circus'.

Should you watch it?
Following the press the film received and with the ensemble British cast (Oldman, Hardy, Firth, Hurt, Cumberbatch)  I had high expectations for it. I'm sad to say the film fell somewhat short. Although a spy film, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the complete polar opposite to Britain's most famous member of Her Majesty's Secret Service. Given what James Bond gets up to, it is therefore more than likely a far more realistic take on the world of government intelligence, in particular considering the era. This was not a problem for me, I love realism in stories but Tinker is too slow, too deliberate and too ponderous.

Spying 70's style - glasses, coats, tweed and briefcases
Granted that the standard of acting is high, as you would expect from the cast and Gary Oldman is captivating with his quiet and understated performance as Smiley. The production also deserves credit and these two pluses carry the film a long way.

I'm sure that a lot of the detail of the book could not be squeezed into a two hour adaptation. The film is a slow-burner, which is usually my favourite type of story, but once the final act arrives it lacks any really punch and I could not recall any twist or even being led in any particular direction with my suspicions. Not what I would expect from a 'thriller'.

Worth watching to see the all round strong acting performances and production but I will definitely be reading the book in the hope it delivers a stronger story.

1 comment:

  1. With all of the constant information being thrown at us, I think that we could have had a bit more of an extended time-limit to really let everything sink in but with the amazing performances from everybody involved, and the assured direction from Alfredson, this ends up being a pretty good mystery flick that just needed more time. Good review Mark.