REVIEW: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

First of all, before watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy it’s important to know that it is not the James Bond-like spy film that features gun fights, car chases and a lot of violent physical contact. Nevertheless, it is unlike any other espionage film that you could possibly see as it takes you on a more theoretical journey into complex investigations and problem solving. Although spy films are not the most favoured sub-genre that everybody will enjoy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is neither one of the best nor worst spy films that there has been as it provides positive qualities and negative flaws on equal fronts.

Having said that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is unlike many other espionage films such as the James Bond, Jason Bourne and Mission: Impossible franchises, there are a few certain faults that the film consists of that could make its viewers slightly lose interest. For example, reading the synopsis doesn’t seem too difficult to understand but when you’re actually watching the film and as it goes into specific detail, it becomes rather complex and can occasionally exhaust the audience by gradually making them feel a bit lost by it. So, as a result of this, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy really is a film that needs to be watched more than once to gain a full and clear understanding of the story or to just simply read the novel and watch the 1979 television series.

Although finding the complex and rather slow dialogue was the only major problem, the direction and filming side of production was just superb! From the director of Swedish horror film, Let The Right One In, Tomas Alfredson goes somewhere different as it becomes his very first English language film. Time and time again, we see this ‘whodunit’ style thrillers resulting in plot twists and dark background stories butTinker Tailor Soldier Spy expresses the dark yet rather clean settings of the film demonstrating life in the 1970s and during the Cold War. Despite the style of filming, Alfredson just lacked expressing that realistic feeling you get when trying to feel attached to the characters, so he may be able to do a lot better but he can do a lot worse than this.

Let’s all be perfectly honest about this: Gary Oldman is undoubtedly one of the most underrated actors of all time who has delivered some fantastic performances and has appeared in a lot of blockbusters over the years. His performance in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was absolutely brilliant as George Smiley which could result in him finally gaining him a long-awaited Academy Award nomination for Best Leading Actor. One who has watched the TV series would have found it a rather difficult task to be able to surpass what the late Alec Guinness managed to bring forth to the character, but considering that I’ve not watched the series; Gary Oldman is the one who could have surpassed Guinness. Recent Academy Award winning actor Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) makes his mark and delivers a good performance as Deputy Chief of the Circus, Bill Haydon. Other strong additions to the cast are uprising young actors Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch who together add a bit of youth alongside the older and more experienced actors. Mark Strong makes a very crucial appearance as Jim Prideaux in the powerful prologue of the film and within the rather sudden flashbacks that constantly kept appearing at the most unexpected times.

Overall, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is neither a fantastic film that is one of the greatest of its genre as well as of 2011, nor one of the worst either. Gary Oldman deserved the critical acclaim that he received and is accompanied by a strong ensemble cast that saves the film. I wouldn’t go as far as to call the story a ‘mess’ but there are many ways where it could have been a lot easier to understand and could have been better.


~ by SJMJ91 on 15/05/2012.

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