Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [2011]

Sorry haters. I don’t care how much you think director Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In”) is working you over with this Cold War tale about a double agent inside MI6 selling out to the Russians. In adapting John Le Carré spy novel, Alfredson stays respectful but not beholden to the source. This should definitely please “espionage” fans, and Le Carré’s followers in particular. “We have a rotten apple” says John Hurt in the opening scene of the film, referring to a mole inside MI6. Retired spymaster Gary Oldman (in one of the best performances of his career) is brought back in, undercover, to find the mole. Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds and David Dencik lead a dream cast as the main suspects. Add Tom Hardy to the equation as a rogue agent and you get this mind bending thriller. Every member of the cast comes through with flying colors, each delivering a powerful performance. But at the end of the day, this is Gary Oldman’s show, and he makes the most of it. His character doesn’t say much at first, but when he speaks, you want to listen, and you want to listen closely to everything he says. 

Peter Straughan and the late Bridget O’Connor have managed to incorporate a huge amount of detail into their screenplay, meaning if you concentration declines, even for a second, you may lose your way. But the essence of “Tinker Tailor” is found in the big picture. It’s hard to grasp everything from one viewing, but when it ended, I felt a great deal of satisfaction.”Tinker Tailor”, for all its flaws is a classic example of Cold War Spy stories. As a viewer, we are asked to keep an eye on every possible suspect. Who can it be? That’s the mystery at the core of Alfredson’s mesmerizing film. You may leave with your head spinning, but “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” will have you talking plenty.

Rating: 3/4

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