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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy More at IMDbPro »

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31 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

Honestly? I didn't get it...

Author: belzebuebchen ( from Berlin
28 November 2011

TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY is a well shot film with great actors and beautiful art direction. But a story one can follow it has not.

I don't consider myself the slow Joe in the last row, nor is my Girlfriend is that slow Jane but honestly each of us got maybe 25% of the story, half the film made sense when we discussed it later.

Maybe one must read the book first because the approx. 400 pages didn't seem to fit in the 127 minutes of film. There's lots of off-text but that's no real help if the basic motivations are told in hints, half sentences or metaphors. That's not how storytelling works in film.

It's a shame because I really loved Alfredson's LET THE RIGHT ONE IN which is a quiet film where a lot is said between the actual lines. For a cold war spy thriller tough that is not the right way to tell a story.

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60 out of 116 people found the following review useful:

What were they thinking?

Author: jillshureauthor from California
8 January 2012

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.

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71 out of 138 people found the following review useful:

Simply Boring!

Author: Dimitric Price from United States
8 January 2012

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 didn't.

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.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Riveting Esponiage Film!

Author: g-bodyl from United States
30 May 2013

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.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Spy Thriller "Jazz"

Author: kgprophet
5 May 2012

Jazz music comes from musicians "playing around the notes". In other words, instead of playing the root notes on the downbeat, they deliberately omit the obvious melody, and fill in the spaces with embellishments that suggest the primary structure. For the educated ear, the way the musician artfully colours between the lines is the source of entertainment. As a moviegoer, I don't mind being presented a puzzle, where you have to think a bit at how the movie is playing around the more conventional spy thriller notes. Strangely, this well heeled story may have become more of a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces missing purely because of the running time. Reportedly the running time was much longer in the original cut, so these holes in the story may have been cut out of necessity.

I am writing this review after watching it a second time, and can say that all the motives and activities are accounted for. I have to commend screenwriters as well as the editor for patching together a complex but intricately told tale. Part of the fun is being aware of the ride you are being taken on. For instance, George Smiley, our main character, is seen a great deal of time without every actually speaking. And when he does speak, it is very calculated, since he doesn't know quite who to trust. There is a subtext about secret sexual relationships, where Smiley's wife appears in a couple scenes but you never see her face. The main group of suspects are a who's who of familiar faces from some of the best films in the last decade. The supporting cast delivers poignant exposition and avoids stereotype dialogue. I could easily see how someone may not like the longer gaps in explanation as to why a certain character appears to be dead and suddenly is alive in an unexpected way. But a similar type of mystery surrounds each of the main characters, and is eventually played out as part of the larger payoff, who is the traitor in the British intelligence service? The greatest appreciation one can have is the ability of the filmmakers to tell a story this complex using visual cues as much as possible. Key moments in the story are told with spare conversation, allowing the audience to mentally piece together what is implied. The stone faced hero played by Gary Oldman, is akin the quiet hero, such as the tight lipped vigilante gunslinger, who carefully carries out justice.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Why bother?

Author: kimdino-1 from United Kingdom
13 August 2013

'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.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Well Crafted, Superbly Acted Film with Details that Lingers in Your Mind

Author: snowbb01 from USA
12 December 2011

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 seeing it.

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.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Smart and well-executed adaptation

Author: Tom Harvey from New York, United States
27 February 2013

Finally caught this wonderful film on DVD. Being a fan of le Carré's work I wasn't keen on watching it on the big screen. But I should have! Asides from the spectacular performances, the indelible score and the deftly nuanced direction, the adaptation itself handles most of the novel's complexities quite effectively. It's surprising, affecting and even touching. Yes, the Alec Guinness TV version is fondly remembered by most. However, I felt that this new version is more effective in how it challenges the viewer so that the reward at the end is exponentially more satisfying. Indeed, this is the type of film that begs to be screened more than once and I can't wait to see it again.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:


Author: bdx3 from United States
26 March 2012

*** 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 this classic.

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.

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10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:


Author: Alexandra Andrei from Romania
18 January 2012

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.

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