Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. For someone who is not aware of the path breaking John Le Carre novel of the same name would sound like a children’s movie, but as it turns out it’s not a child’s play to craft a deliciously complex spy drama which has absolutely no action. It’s a beautiful in-depth analysis of the life of secret agents who use their minds as weapons instead of their guns.
The question at the heart of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” is simplicity itself: Is there a Soviet secret agent at the very highest echelons of British intelligence? Getting to the answer, however, couldn’t be more delicious, thrilling and brilliantly complex.
Swedish director Alfredson, who created a stir with his vampire-themed “Let the Right One In,” has come up with a film that is endlessly rich in incident, atmosphere and personality, a film that leaves us hanging on by the barest skin of our teeth as we try to figure out who is doing what to whom and why. The spy trade doesn’t get much more exciting than this.
The book by Le Carre is one of those fine defining piece of literature on which our spy thrillers are made today. The book is simple and straightforward and the author makes it a point to keep things as simple as possible. Alfredson and his screen writers follow that exact same path. They don’t over complicate the plot line, keep it simple.
The Director also refrains from using any jazzy techniques and focuses on creating a dark laid back atmosphere, which works amazingly well with the material.
The story revolves around the uncovering of a soviet agent within MI6’s top level branch (named The Circus) conducted by a retired agent George Smiley (Gary Oldman). Control (John Hurt), the Circus Chief found out about a mole being present. He then codenamed the suspects; Percy Alleline as Tinker (Toby Jones), Bill Haydon as Tailor (Colin Firth), Roy Bland as Soldier (Ciaran Hinds), and Toby Esterhase as Poorman (David Dencik), George Smiley being left the last of the five as simply “Smiley”.
Developed like a puzzle, each segment of the film uncovers a clue or provides a key to an attentive viewer to open the door to the next twist. Be aware that this movie will entrap you in a labyrinth from which you can get out only by paying attention to the various pieces of information displayed on the big screen. Driven by its well-shaped characters, Tinker might be seen even as a character centered film. What I loved more was the fact that Alfredson succeeded to portray intelligent agencies with utmost accuracy. It’s always good to get a story in which our protagonists solve their problems by using their own head instead of jumping around from planes or buildings waving guns at ferocious terrorists.
The acting is on par with the script. Well contrasted with the grey tempo of the film. Gary Oldman offers a nuanced performance, calibrated with a grain of silence as the controlled, restrained, and sensitive yet cold-minded secret agent George Smiley. Every other role was handled perfectly showing a feast of mature acting and beautiful chemistry. The most notable performances besides Oldman’s being Tom Hardy’s, Mark Strong’s, and Benedict Cumberbatch‘s. Benedict Cumberbatch is the same person who fabulously portrayed Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series “Sherlock”. He is brilliant here as well.
Technically the movie is very sound. The cinematography, editing and music create just the right amount of atmosphere for the movie. A word about the background score, Its Fabulous!
Complex as the title and the story may sound, it actually isn’t. To see a novel of this level of quality getting the writing, directing and acting it deserves is heartening to say the least. “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” is an enormously impressive piece of work, and that’s news too good to stay secret for long.
Direction : 4
Acting : 5
Cinematography : 4
Music : 4
Story : 4
Total : 4.5
IMDB Link : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1340800/