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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
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Reviews & Ratings for
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Boredom at its loveliest

Author: stensson from Stockholm, Sweden
27 December 2011

The Cold War in London 1973. Can any environment be more depressing, ugly and have worse lunch restaurants? Hardly.

Thomas Alfredson takes the challenge, the slow tempo and the complicated intrigue and lets this be John Le Carré. People say that this novel by his is the best espionage thriller ever and it is of course as far from James Bond as possible.

But it is Gary Oldman's film. His way of eating candy or correcting his glasses is art on its highest level, anyway being among a bunch of brilliant British actors. But you really have to stay awake. Otherwise you're soon lost in the most confusing plot you've ever seen.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Wooden Acting, Glacial Pace

Author: a-coogan from United States
9 January 2014

Gary Olman was atrocious as Smiley. In particular his face was permanently devoid of expression. He was like a ventriloquist's dummy, except he lacked a dummy's range of emotions.

The only interesting scenes involved the bitchy top spies upstairs, too intent on stabbing each other in the back to mind the shop.

And nothing happened. Looong periods where there's so little action that the lights would have gone out had the switch been tied to a motion detector.

The storytelling was hopelessly opaque.

The miniseries was infinitely better.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Boring & confusing

Author: Walter_Soprano
9 September 2013

'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' was a film that I really wanted to like but I just didn't get it.

It was just boring, nothing was happening. It was unnecessarily slow with so much talking. There was so many scenes going back and forth in time were it just confuses you. It was really painful to watch, I just couldn't sit there and watch it until the end. It was just simply too long and really hard to get in to.

I only really watched it because the cast was so strong (they all done a good job) but it just wasn't for me unfortunately. Really confusing and just a bore. Maybe it would have made more sense if I'd realised before that there was also books to do with this film.

2/10 - The acting was good.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

One of the most overrated films of 2011

Author: graewarren from United States
6 February 2012

The film is based on the 1974 British spy novel by John le Carré, and is a condensed version of the 1979 seven-part BBC series of the same name.

The film's largest flaw is that it fails to inspire the requisite emotional investment needed to care about the characters. It's hard to fit this sort of investment into a two-hour film considering the complexity of the plot. However, with this disconnect from the characters it becomes nearly impossible to care when someone is killed off. It also doesn't help that the film's low suspense level is like heating up a pot of water that never makes it to a full boil.

The stage is set for a great espionage spy movie including a fantastic cast, but it just fails to leave any kind of lasting impact. This is far from your Jason Bourne hollywoodized type of spy films, and favorably takes a realistic approach. However, this red-herring story needs to up the ante by increasing the tension giving the viewer the sensation of suspenseful anxiety mixed with paranoia.

This has to be one of the most overrated films of 2011.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

You must be kidding

Author: toddatthemovies from Hollywood
10 January 2012

Let's start with the very simple premise that all filmmakers know, one page of script is roughly equal to one minute of film time. I did not read the novel nor see the TV series, but I am told the novel is 400 pages. Taking that into account the film must cut corners and cut corners they did. The movie was filmed with an absolute cloak of heaviness and shot well, but I did not see any groundbreaking techniques. What did come across was a heavy dose of despair. They managed to fit all the complexities of this masterful spy plot, but they left ALL character connections DOA. Gary Oldman does his best to convey the character and demeanor of a person that would occupy that station. That is simply not enough.

It was well acted for what was written. Well shot for where and when it took place. But it simply made no connection whatsoever to the characters and the audience. If you read the book your mind will most likely fill the gaps automatically, but for the rest of us it simply was devoid of interest. This was way more "The Good Sheperd" than "No Way Out". I love a good slow character driven movie. This movie was slow and with no character development. It will no doubt win many awards and be a favorite, but mostly from accolades it did not earn.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A complete failure

Author: robert-temple-1 from United Kingdom
4 March 2012

I have seen the TV series of this novel made in 1979 three times and the performance by Alec Guinness as George Smiley was one of the great milestones in the history of television drama. Compared to him, in this sad and failed new film version, the performance as Smiley by Gary Oldman is utterly pathetic. Oldman is so wooden he should really be growing in Kew Gardens. On the rare occasions when he moves or tries to show some expression, it is like watching the twitching of a corpse in its coffin, having been given a slight shock by a portable battery. The only decent performances in the film are by John Hurt and Colin Firth, who simply do not know how to be bad, no matter how hard the director attempts to make them so. Mark Strong as Prideaux does well. Everyone else is lost in a wilderness of incompetent direction. The screenplay is so bad that it could enter the list of Worst Film Scripts of All Time. The film is rambling, incoherent, incomprehensible, mumbled, vague, affected, pompous, stupid, and an offence to the viewer's intelligence. It is as if Donald Duck had been asked to film Shakespeare, so comical is it as a pastiche of a spy film. Was it the intention of Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner to make a comedy on the sly? Is that their game? If so, why was Dawn French not cast as Smiley so we could have some real laughs? Now, that would have been worth it. This film is what my late friend John Trevilian would have called 'wrist-slashingly depressing' (which was one of his salubrious phrases). Of course, what does ooze from this misbegotten film, as it does from any John le Carré story, is the omni-presence of treachery in Britain. Britain over the past century has produced traitors in the way that a stagnant pond breeds mosquitoes. There must have been at least 150 major Soviet agents working for the British Government between 1930 and 1990, most of them in the Foreign Office, though always some in the Home Office. In the TV series, the 'finger code' was prominent, for identifying the mole. This was probably based upon the 'toe code' which appears really to have been used by MI6. When Kim Philby reached the Soviet Union he sent a cryptic message back to England by an individual whom he trusted saying that 'the middle toes of both my feet were black'. I always took this to mean that he was not a genuine defector but a 'plant' sent to find out who the mole was, but from his message it appears that there were two. The film omits the finger code altogether. The only famous traitor I ever met was Sir Anthony Blunt. I spent an uncomfortable hour discussing an art matter with him in his grand office at Portman Square when he was Director of the Courtauld Institute. At that time no one would have dreamt that such a man could be a spy. The instant I set eyes upon him I sensed that I was in the presence of a dangerous killer-reptile. I have never hated anyone so violently at first sight, and he seemed to feel the same way about me. It was as if we had known each other in a former life and hated each other before. He was one of the most arrogant, supercilious, snobbish individuals I ever encountered, and utterly loathsome. He covered himself in a vestment of unctuous politeness which oozed vanity and contempt. The atmosphere in the room congealed into a solid state of mutual hatred. We somehow made it through our meeting, despite the fact that to judge from our eyes, what we really wanted to do was lunge at each other's throats and attempt to kill one another. Fortunately, I have never had this happen with anyone else, as it was most disturbing. The hatred was so intense and so instantaneous between us that I am at a loss to give any normal or rational explanation. Many years later, when he was unmasked, I was at last able to say to myself that he was genuinely a villain, and I had not been imagining it. Security chiefs can also be odd. Long before anyone had ever heard of her, or could conceivably have imagined that she was a spook, I sat beside Stella Rimington at dinner, and she did her best to appear an ordinary person. She was tense, brittle, sharp as a whip, totally on the ball, and intermittently prickly. Strange how little innocent Stella at a harmless dinner party steered the subject of conversation onto what I thought of Soviet penetration of the Foreign Office. Such an innocent, in a simple frock! I once saw Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller interviewed on the television news. I thought she came across as an idiot. Let's hope it was just bad 'presentational skills' and not congenital idiocy. Perhaps this all goes to show that security bosses slightly resemble human beings, in that they too can range from the brilliant to the terminally foolish (with all the disastrous consequences that the latter implies). Surely the worst security boss the West has ever known was Allen Dulles, and that was not because he was a fool, but for the opposite reason, that he was too clever, and thought controlling the CIA was not good enough for him, so why not the world instead. The depiction of security bosses in this pathetic film may indeed be its one merit, for if this serves to inform the public that some of the weirdest people in the world are in charge of all our destinies, and that many of them appear to have been dragged foaming at the mouth from an insane asylum in order to preside over assassinations, 'the war of terror', renditions, torture, and the humiliation of airline passengers, then congratulations!

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Neuters the Novel

Author: JoshuaDysart from United States
14 December 2011

From the director of the amazing LET THE RIGHT ONE IN comes a movie with the same economy of image, but certainly not of narrative. Cinematographer, and general genius, Hoyte Van Hoytema turns in a vision of an era that seems almost entirely reliant on muted colors and a constant interior asbestos haze, which feels a little lazy, though the use of a lot of long lenses does successfully give the viewer the sense that they're spying on the whole endeavor from afar. The art and set decoration is amazing, with London at the end of its post-war weariness coming off looking particularly nice. All the actors are excellent except for Gary Oldman who manages somehow to overact even when playing the contained and muted George Smiley. The reveal at the end has all the bite of an old toothless dog and is arrived at in such a by-the-numbers fashion that it seems like a chore that needs to be gotten out of the way. The thing is that Le Carré's work may be this dense and even "plodding", but it's never this cold or unengaging. In suppressing and condensing everything the film makers have done him a disservice. All and all I'm a huge fan of real world spy thrillers and a student of the Cold War, and this is, of course a fictional retelling of the Cambridge Five traitors incident, so there's a lot here for people like me to enjoy and I do recommend it for that reason. The quiet reality of the Cold War is so rarely depicted in film and I'm always excited when someone tries. But when it's all said and done, I prefer the BBC mini-series staring Alec Guinness by a long shot, it simply seems to have more life in its bones.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A film that could have actually been longer

Author: thedavidrowley from United States
19 September 2011

In most cases a movie can condense the subject matter of a novel or story it is based off of. Such was the case in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. However, in this instance it should be said that this movie could have gone on for another 30 minutes or an hour and that would have been perfectly acceptable.

The film could be described as a analysis of the psyche yet a better way to describe it would be to say that it is an action film with no discernible action. The drama is there but your on the edge of your seat because it's your brain versus George Smiley's - wonderfully portrayed by Gary Oldman - and that's a battle you can't help but lose. Although it should be said that if one doesn't figure out who the mole is before he is relieved you're not paying enough attention to the film. The pieces are placed before you and explained but it's up to the audience to put the puzzle together.

The casting done by Jina Jay was wonderfully done. The roles were fitted snugly and were great representation of the characters created by John le Carre. As mentioned Oldman portrays a great George Smiley, and Colin Firth as the likable Bill Haydon. John Hurt, though a small role, showed Control as a character you couldn't help respect even if you didn't like him. But perhaps the character that deserves the most credit was Peter Guillam played by Benedict Cumberbatch. A relative unknown when compared to the rest of the cast, Cumberbatch was able to balance the youth of the character with the responsibilities thrust upon him by the likes of Smiley.

It's no wonder this movie is getting rave reviews but note that if you truly want to get an understanding of these characters it's certainly not too late - even after seeing the film - to pick up a copy of le Carre's novel and find out just who is Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Poorman, and Beggarman.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

So disappointing

Author: decap008 from United Kingdom
11 February 2012

Tbf it's prolly around 5 ish, just annoyed as I bought this DVD as a present for my dad, we both love the books and the 70's show, but this film managed to drag, he gave up on it before it had finished.

Too much loud music and overly dramatic pauses. Too little charisma, hard to care or identify with any of the characters, and the gratuitous sex scene was embarrassing.

It was a bit like star wars 1, one intense disappointment yawn with a dodgy Alec guineas impression. Kept expecting a ja ja binks to pop up and yawn, me so bored now.

All the way through is film I kept thinking the TV series really was better than I had thought. Buy that instead this like, it's better.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

NOT for a mainstream audience - too long, awful flowing problems and too many things going on!

Author: lentle from United Kingdom
4 February 2012

This film was SUCH A DISAPPOINTMENT. Probably the worst film I've seen this year so far...

Firstly, the acting in this was excellent in places however it couldn't grab me because the film was directed so poorly. I've never, ever seen a film skip from place to place so quickly when its audience just needs to stop for a moment and grasp what's actually happening! The amount of random scenes that are so misplaced too is extremely irritating and the constant long-pauses of speech made me think why I was watching it.

The film didn't flow either, when it finished I didn't feel like the film had a beginning, middle or end, nor a climax or anything or substance that I'll remember.

There was not one scene I remember from the film very well, no good quotes, no memorable twists, nothing. Don't get me wrong, the sceneries are filmed well, but that's not what this film needs - it needs the development of characters (who there are too many of who don't get enough screen time to adapt).

Terrible, terrible film.

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