From time to time I like going back to re-read past reviews and movies that I have seen. I like to review my first impressions about films, seeing if the effect and awe of the film might have diminished or changed over time or through repeat viewings. One film that seems to divide a lot of people was TInker Tailor Soldier Spy. This is the sort of film that is for the die hards of the novel and subsequent BBC series, one that dives into the world of espionage and dapper peacoats that come in many shades of gray (or gray for those that are sticklers). For those that haven’t read the book or seen the series (both of which are recommended), the film itself might be a bit too indepth and daunting. For me, this is a perfect film that marries intrigue and one of the best ensemble cast of actors.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy really shines from the cast of some of the best British actors to ever grace the screen. I mean with all that Britishness on screen, you are one elocution class away from pronouncing “garage” and “aluminum” incorrectly. Let’s just say that there is no shortage of fine acting in this film and that might just be enough to carry you through the film. Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong and the most British man in the world, Benedict Cummberbatch, all turn in some stunning performances that push the heavy dialog of intrigue and spy rhetoric through the paces of the film. While it might seem slow at times, the film manages to make even the dull sounding budget issues seem interesting. I personally think it is the use of British accents that make the dullest of spy talk fascinating.
I will cop and say that the story might seem a bit boring to the average person who hasn’t been exposed to the book or BBC series. That is a fair assessment of the film since first hand knowledge of the material would alleviate a lot of the issues that people had with it. I think that the film is a bit self indulgent at times with the depth of the material, but I think that it was handled as best it could. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is about as realistic as a spy film can get. It isn’t about the tech gadgets, fast cars, exotic locales or even banging an endless stream of model quality women, but rather about the inner workings of snifting out the mole within an organizations. Every encounter and conversation has some sort of hidden meaning and the film wraps up the proceedings nicely, even if it isn’t the traditional explosive ending we equate with spy films. It is the slow medthodical film that it needs to be.
Below is an excerpt from my original review, which goes into more of the story and thoughts about the film, but overall I would strongly recommend the film to any fans of spy films. This is a must film for fans of strongly put together ensemble films as you will never find a better collection of British actors.
Instead of a vibrant spy life, this is a drab looking film. Bathed in the dull glow of browns, greys and more greys, this is a murky film to behold. I kind of enjoyed the color choice and the setting of the foggy, 70s London backdrop for this espionage tale. The gray tones are more of a highlight to the nature of the spy business. There is the area between truth and lies, where each of the members of the British MI-6 have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s a set a perfect tone for the film, as the height of the Cold War didn’t allow for sunshine and rainbows. Director Tomas Alfredson really brings a unique eye to the film, sucking out the warmth of London to substitute it for a more somber setting. continue reading here