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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Emerges as Pick of the Venice Film Festival

Posted on the 06 September 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy emerges as pick of the Venice Film festival

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy poster. Photo credit: Profound Whatever

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Right here, right now, it’s the film to beat at this year’s festival”The Guardian.

Alfredson directed the acclaimed vampire flick Let The Right One In and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy retains the icy demeanour of his debut effort. The film boasts a (mostly British) stellar cast including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Hurt and Toby Jones.

We are dropped into the company of George Smiley (Oldman), a supposedly retired secret agent, as he attempts to root out a Soviet Spy in the headquarters of M16. What follows is a classic game of cat and mouse: the suspects have been named according to the old nursery-rhyme and Smiley is tasked with sniffing out which of the “Tinker,” “Tailor,” “Soldier” and “Poor Man” is the guilty party.

  • Grittier and Crueller. John Le Carré’s, whose novel was first adapted for a 1974 BBC TV miniseries, has given the latest version his blessing. Le Carré told The Daily Telegraph that the original adaptation “was made, in a curious way, as a love story to a fading British Establishment. It was done with great nostalgia; even the smallest, nastiest characters were in some way huggable. The Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy that has now been made is without sentiment, sexier, grittier and crueller. It had to be.”
  • Old Hat or strangely apt? Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter proclaimed that, “with the Cold War long gone and other problems to worry about on the world political scene, Tinker, Tailor risks feeling out of date and superfluous.” Others, however, viewed it as strangely timely. Leslie Felperin wrote in Variety that, “in the wake of corruption scandals that include the world banking crisis, this version of Tinker, Tailor catches the newest wave of disillusionment and anxiety. It may be a period piece … but it feels painfully apt now to revisit the early-to-mid-1970s, when things were just about to fall apart.”
  • Guinness versus Oldman. According to Le Carré: “George Smiley was Alec Guinness, Alec was George, period.” However, Oldman’s performance is being hailed as a potential Oscar-winner. Wendy Ide wrote in The Times that “he perfectly captures the character.” Geoffrey Macnab went as far as to rate Oldman’s performance as superior to Guinness’ original in The Independent: “He brings a dimension to the role that Guinness arguably missed … he conveys a suppressed aggression and vengefulness that wasn’t always there in the TV series.” Le Carré himself has admitted that the two actors now share the throne, and that “if ‘poor Alec’ had witnessed Oldman’s performance, he would have been the first to give it a standing ovation.”
  • British and European success story. While the film has a quintessential British feel and cast, David Gritten of The Daily Telegraph pointed out it is a “British and European success story. It comes from Working Title, our leading production company and is financed not by Hollywood but Europe’s StudioCanal.”
  • Commercial prospects? Doubts about the film’s commercial prospects occupied Chris Tookey of The Daily Mail: “In these days of diminished attention spans, I worry whether audiences are willing to steep themselves in the intricacies of this kind of complex puzzle.”

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