Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Director: Tomas Alredson
Writers: Bridget O 'Connor, Peter Straughan, John le Carré
Cast: Mark Strong, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds, Kathy Burke, Benedict Cumberbatch
Synopsis: In the early 1970s during the Cold War, the head of British Intelligence, Control, resigns after an operation in Budapest, Hungary goes badly wrong. It transpires that Control believed one of four senior figures in the service was in fact a Russian agent - a mole - and the Hungary operation was an attempt to identify which of them it was. Smiley had been forced into retirement by the departure of Control, but is asked by a senior government figure to investigate a story told to him by a rogue agent, Ricky Tarr, that there was a mole.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, some sexuality/nudity and language
1970's Mini-Series Intro
An Epic Spy Thriller Unlike Any That You May Have Seen Before
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" is possibly one of the best films 2011. Not only does the film offer a deeply engaging story to immerse it's viewers into it's intricate web, but it also features some of the best performances that you'll ever find in a movie. Gary Oldman is in top form in this film, as he manages to say so much while saying very little. Showing a deep range of emotion, and intimidation without ever raising his voice is quite impressive. The film is based on the series of novels by John Lecarre, who gives readers a deep insight into the world of international espionage. However, I wouldn't expect any kind of "Mission Impossible" or "James Bond" type spy movie here, as this film promises to feature a more realistic outlook on the world of international espionage.
As I said earlier, the film is based on a series of novels that were later adapted into a popular TV mini-series during the 1970's, but now we get to see this interesting tale of deceit and mystery on the big screen. The film features an all start cast of seasoned actors, who many might be familiar with, but what makes it even more special is how unbelievably well they feed off each other. Unlike most movies that have tried and failed with an all star cast, the chemistry between the actors in "Tailor Tinker Soldier Spy" is on par with the same level of chemistry movie goers were treated to with "Inception."
Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, and Colin Firth play their parts rather well also, as each of them demonstrates how truly versatile they are in their perspective crafts. Mark Strong displays a rather complex, yet internally conflicted British Intelligence agent. Although we don't always know what his true motives are throughout most of the film, you can still sense an innate internal struggle within his psyche, as he copes with his present predicament. He's not a bad person per say, but his job requires him to do some very bad things. But then again, you can arguably say that about most of the characters in this film.
Unlike most spy thrillers where you have a clear cut cartoon villain, this movie isn't so black and white. No, there's a lot gray areas in the world international espionage, as this movie foretells; where even the so called good guys aren't always as pure as they seem. In this elaborate story, everyone could potentially be a threat, and they all have their own agendas to keep. Which begs the question, who can you trust among them? Or can you trust any of them at all?
The film essentially takes place during the bleak of the Cold War era, Control (John Hurt) resigns after the operation in Budapest, Hungary goes horribly wrong. It's later revealed that Control firmly suspected that one of the four senior figures, at the agency, was secretly a Russian spy. However, he was never able to prove it; hence he used the operation in Budapest to fish him out. George Smiley (Gary Oldman) had been forced into retirement along with Control's resignation. However, he's later approached by a Senior Government figure to come out of retirement to investigate a story told to him by rogue agent, Ricky Tarr (Tom Hardy), who claims to have vital information proving there really was a mole within British Intelligence.
From here, Smiley thoroughly investigates British Intelligence's senior agents, while sometimes flashing back to his earlier days with the agency. It's during these moments, we see Gary Oldman at his best, as he manages to convey so much of his character while saying very little at the same time. He manages to come off as intimidating in his investigative demeanor during key scenes, without ever raising his voice and being laid back the whole time. Not an easy feat for most actors to pull off, but Gary seems do it with relative ease. Another thing that was interesting about Gary Oldman's performance is how he manages to capture the same British accent that the TV actor had on the show, back in the seventies; which is definitely a nice touch on his part.
As for Tom Hardy, I know most movie goers will probably see him more as the infamous Bane character in the upcoming "Dark Knight Rises", but I would challenge those same people to see him in this movie as well, as he plays sort of the polar opposite here. Sure, he's a tough British agent that's often daunted with the task of handling the dirty work that nobody else would want, but he also has a soft side as well. This is revealed in a rather interesting subplot, where he incidentally breaks protocol to engage in an elaborate relationship with a young girl, who might have vital information for the British Intelligence agency. It's through this elaborate subplot, we can see how truly versatile of an actor that Tom Hardy really is.
Granted, we all know he can play a bad a** tough guy, as he clearly showed in such films like "Warrior" and "Bronson." However, in "Tailor Tinker Soldier Spy", we see a different side to Tom Hardy that most people aren't used to seeing, as he shows a certain amount of toughness, sincerity, vulnerability and internal conflict all rolled into one character. Like Gary Oldman, Tom says so much through his demeanor and actions while saying very little at the same time.
Another interesting aspect about this film was how it ingenuously seemed to incorporate elements of film noir into it's mix; hence making the mystery thriller aspects of this movie all that much more engaging to watch.
However, that's not to say that this is a perfect movie, as it does suffer from a lot of pacing issues. As you watch it, the film moves at a very slow snail like pace, to where you really have to be patient while watching it. In fact, the movie felt almost like a three hour film, even though it was only two hours instead. But if you can make it pass the movie's slow pacing, then you might find yourself enthralled by arguably one of the deepest spy thrillers out there.
Overall, I would have to give this movie a three out of four. It's definitely worth seeing in theaters if you haven't already, as it presents arguably one of the most interesting spy movies out there.