Writer: Nadine YongWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: 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