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Plot: In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6. Runtime: 127 Minute Release Date: 29 Dec 2011
I could eulogise about this film all day and articulate positively about it until the cows come home. Gary Oldman as George Smiley is brilliant and I'm sure he'll get an Oscar nomination for his portrayal and could well win it. He's calm but positively threatening at the same time. If you saw the Alec Guiness TV version of TTSS and thought it was one of the best spy thrillers you've seen then prepare to be taken to a higher level with this film. I read the book four times, saw the TV series about three times and am already planning to go see this again. I won't go on <more>
anymore just suffice to say "Go and See this Film!" you will definitely NOT be disappointed.
This is how a Spy thriller should be made! (by estebangonzalez10)
¨It's the oldest question of all, George. Who can spy on the spies? ¨Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy might just be my favorite movie of the year. Director Tomas Alfredson caught my attention a few years ago with his Swedish film Let the Right One in, which in my opinion is the best vampire film I've seen. This is a very different movie, but he still uses very similar techniques. He shoots several shots from a distance which sort of sets the mood of the story dealing with espionage, the setting is also very dark and grayish, and the story moves at a pretty slow pace, but at the same <more>
time the mystery and thrills are always there. This is how a spy thriller should be made; it's about as realistic as any spy film could ever be. I'm sorry for all those Mission Impossible, James Bond, and Jason Bourne fans, but this is a far more superior thriller. Perhaps the action isn't as entertaining or as easy to follow, but if you stick with this movie and put your complete attention specifically on these characters the result is truly satisfying. This isn't a popcorn movie you can watch while you're doing something else; you have to devote time and attention to it. My greatest fear is that viewers are becoming so numbed by mindless action scenes and special effects that we don't even want to think about a movie while we're watching it. Sometimes we just want to feel entertained, but we're not willing to spend time focusing on the story and what is going on. We want everything put in front of us and don't want to try to discover things on our own. If that is the case then Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is not the movie for you, but if you are into a well crafted mystery thriller than you will be in for a pleasant surprise like I was. This was one of the greatest viewing experiences I've had this year.The movie takes place during the Cold War and its set in 1973 London. One of the head members of the British Intelligence Service, named Control John Hurt , sends one of his agents Mark Strong on a special mission to Budapest. Control tells Jim that he received important and confidential information about one of his four top spies being a mole, which would explain why the Russians have been up to date with what is going on in England. Control's four head spies are Percy Alleline Toby Jones , Toby Esterhase David Dencik , Roy Bland Ciarán Hinds , and Bill Haydon Colin Firth , and he believes one of them is the mole. Control evens suspects his right hand man, George Smiley Gary Oldman , so he orders Jim to go to Budapest and meet with his contact to find out who the traitor is. He has a code name for each one of the spies tinker, tailor, soldier, and poorman . When Jim arrives at Budapest the mission goes wrong and it's clear to Control that the traitor has found out and blown the mission once again. Control is forced to retire after the Budapest fiasco along with George Smiley. A year later Control passes away and one of the British ministers hires Smiley to discover who the mole is after he receives a phone call from a disappeared agent named Ricky Tarr Tom Hardy who claims to have information about the traitor. Smiley begins investigating with the help of another agent named Benedict Cumberbatch Peter Guillam and begins piecing things together through a series of interesting and eye-opening flashbacks.The story is just really well made, it's really smart, there is a lot of talking going on, and not much action, but it forces you to pay attention to every small detail of the movie. Once the movie is over, you feel like watching it all over again because you feel like you had missed some important details. I really loved this film and was completely satisfied with the movie. The performances are just great, Gary Oldman steals the show. He is so quiet and emotionless; what a really good spy probably looks like. You never know what is going through his mind, but you cant help but think he knows what he's doing. Then there is Tom Hardy who is always great. He is probably the person who shows more emotion in this movie, but he is brilliant. Peter Guillam, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, and John Hurt are all terrific as well. The movie really has a seventies feel to it and I don't think you can get closer to that time better than how Alfredson did. The casting, the setting, the filming, the editing, the soundtrack, everything about this film is just perfect. This film, along with Drive, were the best experiences I had with a movie this year. It isn't a sexy or entertaining film, it will require your complete attention, but the payoff is completely worth it. The screenplay was also really well adapted from the John Le Carre lengthy novel. They were able to condense the story into two hours which is much shorter than the seven hour BBC television version starring Alec Guinness. I really loved this film and absolutely recommend it over any other spy thriller. http://estebueno10.blogspot.com/
Clearly wasted on the attention-deficit cohort, this slow-burner rewards the effort and concentration you give it tenfold. It is only when you see the characterisation that cinema is capable of, in films like this, that you realise how crudely drawn and unsatisfying most performances are at the moment. Others have commented on the plot, but that is not the most interesting part of Tinker Tailor. It is the pulse that is palpable in the small static moments, where every image and gesture seems to thrum with an expectation of something wrong; a jarring discord that never lets the audience <more>
settle. You are brought into the personae of the characters in a way that makes you feel culpable; never letting you off the hook morally. This film is so good - packed with a thousand tiny pleasures - that it is sad that not everyone loves it. I wish it had had the confident US release that it deserved.
I have been eagerly awaiting this production for a long time and have not been disappointed. Never have I seen such a compilation of such fabulous performances together. No way is this another James Bond, it is how the world of espionage was, and is today. No car chases in Aston Martins or gadgets but a world of seedy little offices and the grim reality of this genre. What had the greatest impact on myself was the slow deep menace conveyed by all. Difficult to single out any one performance as all were amazing but I particularly admired Gary Oldman, Mark Strong and Tom Hardy for their work. <more>
At times this film has some unexpected moments of shocking cruelty. Complex character portrayal is presented in a slow deep style that only inspires you to know more about the person. The story itself is a classic and known by many, yet this production introduces a few changes which work well. One of the most absorbing and classy movies I have seen and has left a lasting impact on me. Please, please, please, make Smiley's People now.
Forty-six year old Swedish director Tomas Alfredson came to prominence three years ago when he directed the film adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel 'Let The Right One In'. After the initial success of the vampiric romantic drama, Alfredson became attached to an international adaptation of John le Carre's espionage-novel 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'. Based on aspects of le Carre's also known as David Cornwell experiences during his time as a member of the British Intelligence service sectors MI5 and MI6 during the 1950s and 1960s, Alfredson creates a <more>
fine, absorbing picture which engrosses from beginning to end.Control John Hurt , the leader of an unknown sector of the British Intelligence service, is ousted along with his long-standing companion George Smiley Gary Oldman due to a botched operation in Budapest, Hungary which saw the officer Jim Prideaux Mark Strong murdered in public. Control was under the impression that there was a mole among the top ranking members of the service, referred to as the Circus by the other top ranking members due to its location in Cambridge Circus, London, and Smiley is drawn out of retirement to pinpoint the culprit after Control passes away. Alongside the young Intelligence officer Peter Guillam Benedict Cumberbatch , Smiley has four primary candidates to focus his investigation upon; they are the last remaining members of the Circus, Bill Haydon Colin Firth , Percy Alleline Toby Jones , Roy Bland Ciaran Hinds and Toby Esterhase David Dencik .Utilizing an all-star, established cast, Alfredson allows the film to unfold at an almost flawless pace. Every sequence contains a small snippet of information which allows the viewer to conduct their own investigation alongside that of Smiley's. While the narrative is also driven along by strong performances from the primarily male cast, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Ciaran Hinds, David Dencik, Stephen Graham and Kathy Burke all give strong, commanding performances. While the true artists of the piece are Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the young, and somewhat naive intelligent officer assigned to assist Smiley. John Hurt as the aging, instinct-driven leader of the British service, and Tom Hardy, who is Ricki Tarr the dirty cleaner for British intelligence's most fowl operations. Their performances go above and beyond in their supporting roles, and at times eclipse Gary Oldman's subdued portrayal of a man drawn back into the murky world of corruption, betrayal and treasure.Alongside the narrative and its cast, one of the more surprising aspects of the film, is Alfredson, Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema and Editor Dino Jonsater's use of stylistic nuances that further enhance the viewing experience. Lingering close-up shots of seemingly insignificant objects and shallow focus shots constantly evoke the nature of mystery and intrigue which surrounds such clandestine organisations. Alfredson never rushes any moment, instead he allows for the audience to become accustomed to their surroundings and appreciate their beauty. Wide angle shots and long lenses are used for interior and exterior locations, showcasing the breakdowns of their interiors, while close-up shots are used to examine objects and characters in their most frail states. During the opening sequence involving Prideaux's botched secret mission, a simple concoction of jump cuts and lingering static shots concentrating upon various characters within the vicinity creates a sense of the tension, suspense and vulnerability of the situation and this is how Alfredson constantly keeps the audience engrossed. By providing those observing the action on screen with just enough information that they themselves become entwined within Smiley's investigation as he moves forward.Once the credits and a dedication to the films screenwriter Bridget O'Connor who passed away last year finish, the viewer is left with an overriding sense of satisfaction. Smiley's world is a far cry away from the glitz and glamour that the espionage genre has become accustomed to. There are no martinis in sight, but only reel upon reel of bureaucratic wrangling, childish bickering and greed-induced deal-making, where it seems everybody is working for themselves and their reputation rather than the nation's government that is employing them. Since its premiere at the 68th Venice International Film Festival 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' has been touted as an Oscar contender and it is easy to understand why, Tomas Alfredson has taken a solid source novel, utilized an established cast and infused the final concoction with elements from his own visual repertoire to create a wonderfully crafted film that does the original BBC televised series justice.
One of my most anticipated movies of the year, and I wasn't let down! (by TheLittleSongbird)
Ever since I first heard of this Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, I knew I wanted to see it. Primarily because of the cast, with Gary Oldman and John Hurt two of the best underrated actors today, Colin Firth a vast majority of the time delivering solid to marvellous work, Mark Strong who impresses me more and more every time I see him and Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch two of the most promising young stars working now.Another point of interest is its source material and the 1979 version. At first, I did find the book somewhat a slow-burner and not to easy to get into. On repeat readings <more>
however, I do find it a compelling and very interesting piece of work. I had heard much about the 1979 version, and when I saw it I was more than impressed. It was tense, involving, I connected to the characters and Alec Guinness' performance in it for me was one of his most memorable and iconic of his very great career.About this Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy it did have a lot to live up to, considering how great the book and the Alec Guinness version were. And I think it succeeds, it admirably condenses a very difficult book which I imagine is a daunting task, and does extremely well on its own merits too which is how I will judge the film . At first, like the book it is a slow-burner to start with, but once the tension rises, the story gets going and more characters introduced the film becomes more absorbing. The ending I agree was a little rushed, but I personally didn't find it too convoluted.I did find that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was very well made. The period recreation was wonderfully evoked, and even better than that it was authentic. The cinematography was also impressive, perhaps grainy, but it did suit the gritty, menacing tone of the film and atmosphere very well. The music is electrifying, it does play a subtle part in some scenes but also adds to any scene that is tense or shocking. The direction consistently is assured and don't fall into the trap of being too artsy.The script is thoughtful and has the basic feel of the prose of the book. The story as I have said is slow to start with, and it is a good idea for those who haven't read the book or seen the 1979 version to have a good enough idea of it before watching, but the number of shocking scenes such as the killing of Hardy's love interest and Firth's character's demise and the atmosphere throughout kept me interested and thrilled. Also the part where Ciaron Hinds' character hums the George Formby song, it was terrifying in a way that they'd been listening in but Cumberbatch's face was a picture! The pace is solid, alive to nuances and doesn't plod so much as for me to call it dull or something like that.Characterisation wise, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy isn't as good as the 1979 version or the book even, but in many ways I can understand. The 1979 version did have more time and room to delve more into the characters. That said, I do commend the film in doing what it could to make the characters interesting and perhaps complex and I think any "slow" pacing helped with this rather than hindered it. I also loved that the emotion in this film is very under the surface rather than hard hitting. The acting is excellent.Gary Oldman is superb, George Smiley is perhaps one of his more subtler performances, but nonetheless it is still commanding and one of my personal favourite performances of his. Of the support cast, the standouts are Tom Hardy, whose character apart from Smiley was the film's most interesting, and Mark Strong whose charisma and intensity still captivates. Benedict Cumberbatch I initially wasn't sure about in regard to age, but the acting was so great I forgot about any worries. Colin Firth gives his usual solid performance, Toby Jones also excels and Kathy Burke does well in a hard role. John Hurt gives his all into what he's got, which goes to show how good an actor he is, he's got some good lines and excellent delivery but the character isn't as developed well or as natural as the rest.Overall, a very interesting and well done movie. It was one of my most anticipated movies of the year, and it ended up being one of my favourites too, which is saying a lot seeing how hit-and-miss so far 2011 has been for movies. 9/10 Bethany Cox
Not everyone can be one of Smiley's people. (by scunnered_again)
It is true to say that Smiley is no Bourne nor Bond but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a beautifully played and observed spy film. Should you expect car chases, spills, thrills, gadgets galore and closely-choreographed fight scenes then you WILL be disappointed. Set in smoke-filled, sepia-tinged 1970s, the film centres around the uncovering of a mole 'right at the top of the circus'. The 'circus' is the British Intelligence Services and is made up of a who's who of British acting talent - Firth, Hinds, Cumberbatch, Hardy, Strong and Hurt. For the most part, the action takes <more>
place in the brown-suited and wall-papered world of England but we are given brief glimpses of the spy territory in Budapest, Paris and Istanbul. Smiley, played inscrutably by Oldman, is tasked with uncovering the mole and is ably assisted by Guillam, the ever-watchable Cumberbatch. Admittedly this is a slow-burn of a film, full of meaningful looks, pregnant pauses and one that hints at deeper and more complex plot strands but it has an authentic air and it is a fascinating to observe a build-up of tension and cold-war paranoia which culminates in a dramatic if subdued fashion. Being slightly too young to have watched the original Alec Guiness TV series, I cannot make any direct comparisons and I imagine that a TV series allows much more time for plot and character development. The film must be judged on its own merits, and whilst I am sure that this will not be to many mainstream movie-goers' tastes, it is one for those who are looking for a film of a different type, time and pace.
Boldly announcing himself upon the stage of international cinema with 2009's Let the Right One In, the significant critical and commercial acclaim accorded director Thomas Alfredson clearly proved him a filmmaker capable of pulling off high quality adaptations of complex and dark literary sources.Called back into service to uncover the identity of a Soviet mole at the height of the Cold War, retired British intelligence operative George Smiley is tasked with unwinding a vastly convoluted web of conspiracy, codenames, double agents, and deceit.The movement from relatively low-budget <more>
foreign language filmmaking to helming star casts in comparably costly productions is one that, historically, holds significant risk for directorial careers. Add to the mix the danger of bringing a much-loved novel to life on screen, and Alfredson is certainly faced with a substantial task. An espionage thriller, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy—based on John le Carré's book—throws an extremely layered narrative at its audience and insists they keep up, making little in the way of allowance for those accustomed to excess plot exposition. Concerning an approximate dozen key characters—most of whom go by at least two names—the film contains a considerable quantity of raw information to be processed, particularly considering its reserved pace; the camera scrolls slowly across the screen in step with the story's measured progression, constantly moving along yet never losing the integral tension of its hastelessness. Alfredson and screenwriters Bridget O' Connor and Peter Straughan demonstrate a keenness for the more tensely-oriented end of the genre, delving into an atmosphere of unease rather than one of brisk spy action. There is almost an air of claustrophobia to much of the film, the caliginous cinematography and mysterious score combining to evoke an aura of noir paranoia. Much like Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy boasts a thrilling visual panache; indeed, Hoyte van Hoytema's cinematography is oftentimes so remarkably involving that entire scenes may pass by without any absorption of the dialogical details disclosed therein—the brain is simply too overcome by the aesthetic bombardment of visual pleasure to decipher the explicit aural signals. One particular shot—an extreme close-up of Smiley's wearied face draped in shadow— affords the audience the time to study the furrowed ridges of his forehead and the weighted bags of his eyelids, giving us an entitled sense of knowledge of, and familiarity with, this character. It seems almost redundant to offer praise to the film's extraordinary cast; a brief glance at the list of exemplary names will disclose the sheer calibre of talent on display: a veritable dream team of the finest names of modern British cinema. From Firth to Hurt, Hardy to Cumberbatch, Oldman to Dencik, the phenomenal cast plays beautifully together, each actor inhabiting their character with award-courting flair. Where Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy really shines is in its characterisation—an all-too often underutilised aspect in this genre—each of them distinctly human rather than simply mouths through which the plot developments are channelled. Their primary concern may be with their espionage, but ours is with them: exploring their motivations; their private lives; their loyalties; and just how a career like theirs affects an existence. A recurring Christmas party scene revisited a number of times throughout the film reminds us regularly that these intelligence agents are not solely extensions of the government's facilities, but rather human beings with emotions, afflicted by the agonies of their toils, burying themselves in vodka-laced punch to just get away from it all.Hitting all the right notes in its performances, script, and direction, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy triumphantly infuses a challengingly multifarious narrative with a deeper humanity, questioning by proxy the way in which devotion to duty affects all aspects of our lives. Shot with unforgettable effulgence—committing to memory eternal every last contour of Oldman's storied brow—it is a genuine achievement in cinematic storytelling.
A Nordic View Of A Very British Tale (by littlemartinarocena)
Freezing. John Le Carre's spy story has a new version. Tomas Alfredson the Swedish director of the chillingly great "Let The Righ On In" understands the British climate. Impersonal raincoats wore by the very personal Gary Oldman are only part of the story. An undercurrent of passionate wheelings and dealings with poker face players makes for an engrossing tale that allows us some kind of distance. The production design is a masterpiece on its on. Just look at the wallpapers. I'm not going to venture into the actual plot but the performances. Gary Oldman is superb in a <more>
slightly younger and more virile version of Alec Guinness who played George Smiley in a celebrated British miniseries in 1979. Colin Firth's bisexual turn brings a dark sort of lightness to the proceedings. Tom Hardy is also superb as are Mark Strong and John Hurt. If you're a Le Carre fan you'll be enthralled, if you're not you may become one.