film shop, london n16 logo

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Film Format: 
United States
Gary Oldman
Mark Strong
John Hurt
Film Reviews: 

he[the director] deploys a scrupulously restricted palette, shooting mainly in subdued greys and browns that perfectly fit John le Carré’s disenchanted world of espionage and treachery. Even so, memories of the 1979 BBC TV series are unlikely to be expunged…the quietly unassuming George Smiley patiently smokes out a Soviet mole lurking in the British Secret Service, losing only a few incidental scenes and telescoping one or two characters. A couple of overseas venues are changed, but not so it matters. What’s preserved, perhaps even enhanced, is the pervasive atmosphere of mistrust and cynical insecurity – a world in which the mole opts for betrayal as “an aesthetic choice as much as a moral one” and Smiley tells his Soviet counterpart Karla that “there’s as little worth on your side as there is on mine”…Where the film loses out, having had to shoehorn a convoluted plot into a restricted running time, is in the denouement. Since we spend most of the time with Smiley and his chief sidekick, Benedict Cumberbatch’s febrile Peter Guillam, none of the potential moles has the scope to establish himself much beyond a bit part; so the final unmasking, to which the whole film should be building, lacks both dramatic and emotional impact, and the ending feels fudged. But as always with le Carré, the quarry matters less than the hunt; and the hunt is gripping.[Sight and Sound]

Date Arrival: 
30 January 2012

No comments

Please register or sign in to post a comment.