Starring Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Tom Hardy.
Directed by Tomas Alfredson.
Classification: MA15+ (Strong violence), 128 mins.
Official Site: http://www.tinker-tailor-soldier-spy.com/
In the 1970s, recently retired MI6 agent George Smiley is trying to adjust to civilian life when a disgraced agent reappears with information concerning a mole at the heart of the Circus. Smiley finds himself drawn back into the murky field of espionage.Given the task of investigating which of his trusted former colleagues has chosen to betray him and their country, Smiley narrows his search to four suspects—all experienced, urbane, successful agents—but past histories, rivalries and friendships make it difficult to pinpoint who is eating away at the heart of the British establishment.
Gary Oldman is one of the best actors on the planet. Feel free to pay homage at Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the devilishly clever film version of John le Carré's iconic 1974 spy novel from Swedish director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In), in which Oldman gives a performance that is flawless in every detail. This mind-bending thriller infuses Cold War espionage with the hot immediacy of today's corporate treachery. Oldman plays George Smiley, a spymaster forced out of MI6 (the British Secret Intelligence Service), along with his boss (a hypnotically conniving John Hurt), for infamously botching a mission in Budapest. Alfredson stages the skulduggery for maximum suspense. Soon after, Smiley is brought back in, undercover, to ferret out a mole, a double agent selling out to the Russians. Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds and David Dencik power a dream cast as the chief suspects. Stir in a rogue agent (an explosive Tom Hardy), a youthful Smiley ally (the excellent Benedict Cumberbatch) and a former MI6 researcher (a dynamite Kathy Burke), and the movie ignites.
Sex (straight and gay) figures strongly in the spy game of manipulation. Each actor elevates the other's game. Watching Oldman parry with the electrifying Firth or put the screws to Hardy without raising his voice is a master class in film artistry. Oldman makes us brutally aware of the emotions roiling under the unruffled surface of this anti-James Bond, showing the sudden cruelty that tilts Smiley's moral balance until – even behind his owlish glasses – he can't see straight. As Alfredson directs the expert script by Peter Straughan and Bridget O'Connor, the film emerges as a tale of loneliness and desperation among men who can never disclose their secret hearts, even to themselves.
It's easily one of the year's best films.
At The Movies (ABC)
John Le Carre's great spy novel, TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY made into a famous television series soon after it was originally published in the 70s, finally makes it to the cinema screen under the direction of Sweden's Tomas Alfredson, director of the remarkable LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. Set in 1973, this dramatic thriller about the inner-workings of The Circus, Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, is as perfect an adaptation of Le Carre's novel as you could possibly want. Alfredson brings to the material the eye of an amused outsider, and taps into the very British humour and subtleties of the drama.
At The Movies (ABC)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2011
The Guardian Uk
Director Tomas Alfredson came to prominence with “Let the Right One In”, a story about vampires, but his instinctive, even passionate sympathy for the undead was never better displayed than here. This is a skin-crawlingly atmospheric, uncompromisingly cerebral and austere account of John le Carré's cold war espionage novel, adapted for the screen by Peter Straughan and the late Bridget O'Connor. Gary Oldman plays the melancholy agent George Smiley, brought out of his humiliating retirement and charged with rooting out a Soviet mole in the upper reaches of the secret service.
Could it be Alleline (Toby Jones), Haydon (Colin Firth), Bland (Ciarán Hinds), Estherhase (David Dencik) – or someone else? Like Michael Corleone contemplating Fredo's duplicity, Smiley's face is a mask of icy determination. He is also suppressing emotional agony. One of these men has betrayed him personally.
The movie brilliantly conjures up the heavy weather of Le Carré's spy game: Alfredson shows how the profession of secrets meshes with sexual shame, heterosexual and homosexual: perhaps because married womanisers and in-the-closet gay men are good at pretence and doublethink, and perhaps because they yearn for a world which makes a virtue of deceit.
This TINKER TAILOR is a weightless, slo-mo nightmare taking place in what looks like an aquarium filled with poison gas instead of water: I found it more gripping and involving than any crash-bang action picture, and it is anchored by Gary Oldman's tragic mandarin, a variation on Alec Guinness which transfers the emphasis away from George Smiley's wounded feelings to his cool capacity for unconcern in the face of violence, a hint of a daredevil past, long mummified by bureaucratic self-control and a schoolmasterly scorn for his victim's weakness and disloyalty, while seeing how easily any agent could give the wretched Judas kiss. What a treat this film is, and what an unexpected thrill.
The Guardian Uk
The Guardian UK
Rated M (Horror themes, violence, sexual reference and coarse language), 90 mins
These Final Hours
Rated M (Sex scenes, coarse language and mature themes), 90 mins
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