Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the Most Proper, Well Mannered and a Near Perfect take on the World Britain During the 1970s and the Cold War

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (4 out of 5 Stars)
Directed by Tomad Alfredson (Let the Right One In)
Written by Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan 
Starring Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Collin Firth, and John Hurt

Tinker Tailor Solider Spy  is based on the 1974 spy novel by John le Carre.  The interesting thing about this will be that this may be the shortest review I have ever done for a film.  Yet this was a brilliant film.

The film itself centers around an intelligence expert named George Smiley (Gary Oldman).  Smiley is forced into retirement but then is brought back secretly to investigate the presence of a mole in the "Circus" the highest level of the Secret Intelligent Service in Britain.  Explaining more about the film would be difficult because one there are specific details and key plot points I do not want to give away and also because of the complicated structure in understanding British intelligence during this period.

After seeing the film I decided that I wanted to learn more about the novel the subject material was based on, and British Intelligence.  I was also a history major in college so understanding the basic history and time period was important to me.  I think understanding the historical context and British intelligence is an important element of this film.  So many films like the Bond series capture a vantage point that details things as well as this film. This is one of the flaws that is not the films fault.

 The film at times was so meticulous and precise then if you looked away or sneezed you could become lost in the films subject matter.  The script is sharp, and well written, and adapts one of the largest books that was once a mini-series into a well made two hour film.  That is no easy task.  Tomas Alfredson who directed the Swedish film Let the Right One In was the perfect choice to direct this film.  Alfredson is an expert at taking the world of espionage and creating such a dark and twisted journey that involves sex, intrigue, and one intense ride.

The real star of this film is Gary Oldman.  Oldman is one of my favorite actors working today.  This man can take a role and we can lose site of the actual actor.  Oldman has done this flawlessly in films like The  Contender, Hannibal, the most recent Batman series, the Harry Potter series, and Air Force One.  This is his best performance; he is stoic, yet incredibly powerful in every interaction he has on camera.  Whether Smiley is trying to get Tom Hardy's character to divulge his source for knowing there was a mole, or using his expert knowledge to make the actual mole (not divulging who) reveal there sordid plan.

The film's message is one of loneliness. These men and women who work for this agency have no where to turn, and no one they can share their secrets with.  Friendship, marriage, and any form of relationship goes out the window, and all in the name of love of one's country.

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