Movie Details

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Set in the 70s, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" finds George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a recently retired MI6 agent, doing his best to adjust to a life outside the secret service. However, when a disgraced agent reappears with information concerning a mole at the heart of the Circus, Smiley is drawn back into the murky field of espionage. Tasked with investigating which of his trusted former colleagues has chosen to betray him and their country, Smiley narrows his search to four suspects - all experienced, urbane, successful agents - but past histories, rivalries and friendships make it far from easy to pinpoint the man who is eating away at the heart of the British establishment.

Language: English
Subtitle: No Subtitle
Classification: M18
Release Date: 9 Feb 2012
Genre: Thriller
Running Time: 2 Hours 2 Minutes
Distributor: Shaw Organisation
Cast: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, John Hurt
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Format: 2D

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Review
Writer: Nadine Yong

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Watch this if you liked: “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold” & “The American”

Mention the phrase "spy thriller" and the mind instantly recalls the likes of Bond, Bourne and possibly even Austin Powers. But "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" is not a movie with that sort of mass appeal; neither does it pack the same explosive gun-toting, car-chasing action or breakneck pace. What Swedish director Tomas Alfredson has created instead is a slow-burning work of suspense that will sit well with moviegoers who like to engage in intellectual acrobatics.

Based on the 1974 novel of the same name by John LeCarre, the story follows the trail of George Smiley (Gary Oldman), an ex-agent recalled back into service to weed out a Soviet mole planted right at the top of the British Intelligence, nicknamed the "Circus".

The suspects are code-named according to the classic children's rhyme, hence the title, 'Tinker' for the power-hungry Percy Alleline (Toby Jones), 'Tailor' for the dapper Bill Haydon (Colin Firth), 'Soldier' for the ominous-looking Roy Bland (Ciaran Hinds), 'Poor Man' for the undistinguished Toby Esterhase (David Dencik), and 'Beggarman', Smiley himself. Rounding up the able cast is Mark Strong, who plays the agent at the centre of the plot, Jim Prideaux.

Employing a non-linear narrative structured around flashbacks, the plot is well-woven but complex, demanding the highest level of focus from the viewer-the success of any spy film lies in its ability to clue the viewer in while maintaining as much ambiguity as possible, and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" achieves this well.

The casting of Oldman as Smiley is especially spot on; his is a quiet charisma that delivers just the right amount of screen presence without overshadowing the other elements playing out simultaneously-the adroitly crafted dialogue between Smiley and his suspects, the suitably austere atmosphere and the immersive, occasionally unpredictable musical score by Alberto Iglesias all converge to create a world marked out in shades of grey with shifting allegiances and scarcity of trust.

Very much the thinking man's movie, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" can be a challenging watch for those with short attention spans and weak bladders (despite its measured pace, the density of the plot does not allow for toilet breaks). It will not be a bad idea to read up before you head to the cinemas for this one.

Cinema Online, 08 February 2012
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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