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I'm a huge fan of spy movies! I loved The Day of the Jackal, The Bourne Identity. However, this film fails on so many levels it's hard to know where to start. First, we learn almost nothing about the characters. Secondly, I really got tired of watching filing, shuffling of papers, and scenes of men sitting in chairs over and over without any real action. The cuts back and forth are confusing, the actors look extremely unattractive, and most of the scenes are of men sitting down and talking. Or not talking. They stare, they stare again, they mutter. I found this film to be toxic it was so dull. And if the scenes are from the 1970s, how about sideburns on the men? Or double vented suits? This film was a terrible disappointment.
This was the first movie I've seen this year and I still don't know why
I picked this particular movie. It was simply boring from the start to
finish. The plot didn't make no sense to me what-so-ever. I actually
dozed off to sleep during the movie, hoping when I awake the movie
would end. And I ever doze off watching a movie. Never! All of these
top rated actors in this movie and still it had no plot. Moreover, I
see a lot of people gave this movie great ratings, and a 7.7 overall.
Come on, 7.7? Well, I guess they found it more intriguing, cause I
If you like these type of movies that takes forever to figure out the puzzle, and with a good cast. Knock yourself out! But make sure you bring a pillow and a blanket.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is about as realistic you can get
depicting spies in a movie. Based of John Le Carre's novel, this film
is complex, well-acted, and it doesn't rely on car chases or action
sequences to tell a story. I like action scenes, but there are some
movies I'd prefer to watch without them and this is one of them. This
is a story that could happen in real life and that is what makes this
movie even better.
Tomas Alfredson's film is about how there was a mole detected in the British MI6 and how everyone tries to find out who exactly the mole is.
As mentioned before, this is very well-acted. Gary Oldman makes a perfect George Smiley with his long raincoats. There are other great, well-respected British actors here such as Colin Firth, John Hurt, Mark Strong, and Toby Jones. They really did well with all the turns and twists and I always had a changing opinion about who is the mole or not.
Overall, this is a riveting spy thriller that does well without the action sequences. I found myself hooked to the film even though movie many people found it boring. I did feel it moved a little too slow in parts and the length was a little long. But, all-in-all, this reminds me of the old spy thrillers from the 60's. I rate this film 8/10.
'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' is a damn good story. The BBC dramatised
it very well with great actors and, more importantly, using a
mini-series format. Which led me to wonder what the makers of this
version could have hoped to add. With a well acted miniseries version
out there creating a feature film version is akin to creating a Ferrari
based on a moped engine. i.e. it just cannot be.
So I have just watched it hoping to find out because (i) I wanted to make a 'fair' comment, (ii) there was a tiny chance it MAY have been worth seeing & (iii) I had nothing better to do.
Perhaps Gary Oldman could have created a really good Smiley but he doesn't have the time to develop the character anywhere near properly. Perhaps he may even have been able to do even better than Guinness (scoring 11/10) but the the actual result, with the BBC version out there, scores him very low. There is far too little of him to judge compared to what Alec Guinness & Simon Russell Beale have given to Smiley. He stood no chance.
That comment applies equally to the whole film. No matter how many great actors, money, etc the makers may throw at it they had no hope of creating as good a version, not without the extra time. And they failed miserably.
And that's exactly what I saw when I watched it. I found the question 'What could they hope to achieve' unanswered.
So, before this film even reached the box office anyone honest would have said "Don't bother with it. If you want to see LeCarre's story WELL told get the BBC version. We've only got two hours to tell the story in, not a hope of beating them. This remake is pointless".
If you prefer cod-roe to caviar, cola to champagne, Ford Fiestas to Ferraris & plastic cutlery to silver then this might be the version for you. Anyone else get the BBC version where there is room for character development, drama & suspense. A 9/10 version. Or even better - read the book.
Saw this at a special screening. LOVED IT. I'm bummed that the limited
release doesn't open in any theater close to me, yet. I would've love
to see it again. Not that it was confusing to watch or anything. But I
found the layers and details so intriguing, it'd be purely
entertainment just to see it again and savor everything. There are so
many details that I still go through in my head even after weeks of
The pacing was perfect. For me personally, it was gripping. I couldn't take my eyes of the screen, which has a lot to do with all the great performances in the film. I don't think there was a weak or bad performance by anyone.
Gary Oldman is simply mesmerizing. I've been a long time fan. And to see him taking on a lead role like this is just....heaven. With the smallest infliction or twitch, he can convey so much information as well as emotion. In such a stoic character, I could still feel his character's incredible loneliness as well as his resolute for ideal. I can go on for pages about how terrific I think this performance is. If he doesn't get some award recognition for this, I'm going to be sick.
Kathy Burke's cameo was superb. Her scene with Oldman ranks one of the best in the film.
Like many others, I really enjoyed Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy in the film too. Both of them have these moments that really touched me. Yes, they are not huge emotional moments that are "designed" to elicit some sob reaction from the audience. But that's precisely why they are so well done. They don't seem forced or contrived. (I personally can't stand those fabricated "emotional" scenes with the big crescendo music behind it just begging you to please cry.)
I agree that the film can be distancing emotionally at times. I can see why some might dislike that trait. Thought it doesn't bother me at all. It fits the entire tone and theme (distance) of the film. And when it's time to get the glimpse into the characters' emotional state, I completely felt the pain and loneliness that the film wanted to portray.
It ranks as one of the best films of the year on my list.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Terrible from start to finish. If you read the book, and I have read
almost all John LeCarre's books, you wonder why they bothered to remake
The penultimate Smiley is Sir Alec Guinness, who played the role in a PBS television production and aced it. Guinness is Smiley. Peter Guillam is much more convincing in the TV miniseries as is Ricky Tarr, the instigator. The best thing that can be said about the movie's Bill Hayden is that he looks a little bit like the miniseries Bill Hayden. You don't realize who anybody is - Percy, Esterhase, Bland, they all blend together like Summer theater actors.
In the TV version, Smiley interviews Karla, and Patrick Stewart gives an outstanding performance without ever uttering a word. In this movie, they skip trying to outdo Stewart by having Smiley recount the spy's actions to Guillam, as if they don't even want try to compete with the TV version. I wish they had felt that way about the whole movie.
Oh and the opening scene with Prideaux takes place in the countryside in the book and the TV miniseries. The movie does a modern restaurant version that could be used in an NCIS episode. Crap - multiplied at the end when Prideaux shoots Hayden with a rifle - sheesh - why bother? Do yourself a favor - read the book (trilogy) and rent the TV version with Alec Guiness. Forget they even made this. I wish I could.
I found myself in front of an incredible movie without any warning and it felt good! Maybe there were the images, maybe there was the incredible performance of every actor in the movie, maybe it was the plot or maybe the combination of all of these. I am not sure what made me like it so much, the fact is that I do: I felt the power of "The Godfather", the excitement that "The Departed" gave me and something I haven't feel for a while: attention, imagination, intelligence and logic being stimulated by a film. I can compare this movie with Dante: this movie comes to me as a very strong light in a dark period of movie-making.
My notion of noir is simple: it is a form of narrative that recognizes
that there is a viewer, and that the presence of the viewer reshapes
the world to make an interesting story. That is, various unlikely
circumstances occur; portholes to visibility by us as ghosts are
opened; knowledge by the characters of what is going on are gated by
what we know in a too and fro of dominance.
It is, in other words, a world where the very presence of a viewer controls various aspects. A central character (usually one, usually a random man) struggles with how he is buffeted; comes perhaps to understand it and in the normal form achieves points in the game that puts him at the same level as the viewer.
We are a sophisticated people, and this has been around for a long time and in cinema and cinematically influenced art as well. So we have some clever adaptations and twists. One common form is the massive, all-controlling conspiracy. Another is the modern detective story where the discovery is about the detective's self as much as grokking the murder. Yet another is the con story where we follow the controller's actions but only at the end discover the means of manipulation.
Here we have another variant, which is essentially a detective story to discover who is the control over the world that is manipulating our random guy, aptly named Smiley. It shares elements of the three examples above, but allows for a deeper texture because it recalls worlds that have dynamics we understand. So a talented filmmaker can reference these.
And boy do we have a talented filmmaker!
One world is simply the world of men with power and how they perform small ballets in their relationships one to another to be top dog, using deniable, even unconscious tactics. This becomes the foremost world in this film, and gives our main actors something to use. All of them are first rate; all respond with insights from the craft. Kathy Bates is perfectly placed as a displaced analyst with enough vision to value 'her boys' for their sexual attractiveness at the top of the heap we see.
Another world is the cold war. It was hot when the book appeared, but the book already was treating it as a sort of fantasy world that came with prefabricated rules. In some ways, it has taken until now for this perspective to fully mature so that this film in this time can be far deeper than the original novel was in its time. Frankly, in its time it was trash for airport reading, of the Grisham variety.
Yet another world is that of Britain in the early seventies. This was a bleak country, still not recovered from the war while its adversaries were soaring. It clung to the US instead of the continent. There is a wistful desire to please the master here that hits home for this US viewer, knowing what I know about the relationships of the intel communities.
And we have the inner, personal world of loves, companions, friends, trust and sex. These are always where the bones of a story rest, and are broken.
All of these are noir worlds, all manipulated by various controls (Controls, as a proper noun).
All of these are masterfully called, merged and presented with us unsure of what we control.
Already, I have this as a candidate for one of my two rare selections of the most important films of 2012 (my 'Fours').
See it. See it in a theater.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
Yes, in the not too distant past Tomas Alfredson's film version of John
Le Carre's engaging mystery-spy thriller would have certainly attained
an "M" from the old ratings board, though not due to any overt displays
of sexuality or nudity; and while there is one hilarious bit of
profanity tossed out in the midst of the slow, icy grip of the plot
developments, the language used by most of the characters in the film
could hardly be described as "mature" in the pejorative sense.
No, the maturity of TINKER is indicated chiefly by the staid, stoic behavior of the indisputably adult figures who go about their business in their chosen profession and by the intricate, labyrinthine permutations of the unfolding tale. And the tale is set into motion by one objective: find the mole. Who is the spy (from the other side) who has been gathering information on the other spies (from our side?)? As depicted here the answer to the question does not come easy at all; finding the mole is painstaking, dangerous, even deadly work. This is James Bond for grown-ups; Mission: Impossible for (perhaps) the seriously middle- aged (though not exclusively). Pyrotechnic exhibitions and ingenious toys of destruction would serve little or no purpose in a film such as this. Indeed, as already pointed out by quite a few reviewers on this site, aficionados of the "high concept", low complexity, jump cut, action-driven school of filmmaking may find themselves searching for the exit door after the first thirty minutes or so of TINKER.
The audience is asked to attend and attend closely from the very outset and if there is bafflement in the viewers in determining who the mole is, there is equal bafflement among the characters in the film owing to the twists and turns and deceptions of the plot and the utter elusiveness of that slippery mole: the bafflement as well as the satisfying conclusion is well earned due to an excellent script, a tour de force of ensemble acting brilliance and superb direction.
Despite the very entertaining restraint of the characteristically volatile Gary Oldman (it was fun watching him rein in his energy and verve) the George Smiley on display here, though subdued in appearance and demeanor, cuts a more dashing figure than the bland cipher created in the novel and later portrayed with nondescript perfection by Alec Guinness in the 1979 television series. There were six hour long episodes in the television show and if memory serves the show was also a very engaging viewing experience; there was, naturally, far more time to delve into character and clarify (but not simplify) certain elements of the story.
Still, with a running time of just over two hours Alfredson achieves a wondrous compression of detailed information that, again, keeps you well engaged and yet gives the impression of a very sober, deliberate, unhurried immersion into a world apart, a world where trust is a rare commodity and where that close associate looking at you with cool yet friendly detachment from across the conference table may just be planning your imminent demise.
This film is superfluous. And worse, it muddies the well of memories from the superb TV production. From the advertising and trailers I had seen before, I had thought I should see this, but I shouldn't have gone. Nobody should. Very poor casting, the story brutally trimmed back to what (and where it) was cheap to film, and all mixed up anyway as the writer seemed keen on avoiding the examples of the preceding production, and of the book. My goodness, they made a ridiculous dwarf out of Percy Alleline, and a beau out of Bill Hayden, as if they thought the audience would not understand their roles otherwise. Agreed, Le Carres original novels are complex, and rich of detail, wit and character, so not really suited for the mass market. This film seems to be an attempt to reduce the detail and refinery of the novel in order to make it all better digestible for the people who are not fond of detail and refinery. Consequently, this film is not a work of art, but one of shameless exploitation of the fame and publicity of the original. I was utterly disappointed, and feel compelled to warn people of it.: Give this one a miss. Go buy and watch the TV series instead.
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