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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:

glimpse of the old times, spies are ordinary people who do unordinary work

Author: bertieliu52 from somewhere on earth
18 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's a sort of endeavor to write a film review for Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy after its premiere month ago. The espionage masterpiece of John le Carré has already got enough comments and analysis, so when it was brought to the wide screen in 2011, I guess most people might be thinking, this film is good.

Of course, you cannot imagine a film "not good" with Gary Oldman (see Prada show this year?), John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy... And this film is absolutely loyal to the novel, which perhaps is partly because le Carré himself is one of the adapters. We could see a real Circus in the 1960s - 1970s (The Honourable Schoolboy took place in 1976), with a gloomy London sky high above. All the buildings, streets, cars, pedestrians and rains seems clear and gray, and among them, is a group of tired spies.

"Tired" is the word I'd like use to describe the characters. Those who had been struggled through WWII and lived to the Cold War were easy find themselves confused and tired in the post-war circumstance- it seemed that an old enemy had been beaten nevertheless a new one was created from an old ally. Toby Esterharse and Percy Alleinne were nothing like what the "old", "decent" espionage. They were more like political clowns performing before the politicians. Meanwhile those who'd joined the Circus before or during the war, seemed to arrive at the crossroad of their life- either to drop out or to work for the superior they were not very approved of.

I am not to discuss the matter of belief and loyalty in that period of history as absurd as singing Soviet Union national anthem in the Christmas party of Circus here, just try to recall the life of spies of an ordinary human being. They were just normal people, despite their brain and profession, nothing more than an elder man abandoned by his wife who had affair with his colleague or a middle-aged public servant who had to be separated from his gay lover, or a young man who met his passion of love and began to dream about family on a business trip to Istanbul. When we look deeper, to reveal the truth beneath loyalty and betray, we might be able to see a group of ordinary people feeling confused about their life and what had long been making up the most part of it.

When the talented Connie Sachs sat next by George Smiley on a typical Oxford afternoon showing the latter photos from the past, she said what good old times, with a younger Control in uniform fighting for his country and what he believed in, and Jim Prideaux and Bill Haydon together for their friendship, who would had foreseen the lonely death of an old man and betray between two very good friends?

With the melody of La Mer, we could see Smiley sitting on Control's seat, Ann coming home again, Guillam passing by Smiley in the Circus, and Haydon shot by Prideaux then a tear of blood dropping from his face. Seems another period of good time had began, if we don' t consider what was going to happen.

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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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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Tinker Tailor...Superb, Adult Spy Drama...

Author: l-murray-31 from United Kingdom
18 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This excellent second adaptation of Le Carre's classic espionage novel, famously adapted by the BBC in 1979-Alec Guinness playing the eponymous George Smiley(a name that is at best a misnomer), followed by Smiley's People in 1982, Death of a Schoolboy never followed due to the Usual BBC budget constraints.

Now we have a real movie version-that stands on its own merits-Gary Oldman takes Smiley and makes him his own-younger than Guinness and far more sinister, he sees and hears everything, Oldman is supported by a brilliant cast-Kay Burke(finally back on our screens) as Connie, Benedict Cumberbatch(in a beautifully rewritten supporting role)the always excellent Toby Jones, Tom Hardy, and Mark Strong, whom is in danger of becoming a major star. Lastly Colin Firth-proving what a versatile actor he is (post Oscar)and Lastly John Hurt as Control--another superb performance of him.

Events are telescoped, re-jigged and we (the audience )are given key information at different times than the original TV series, due to the 2hr running time of the movie. It all works though, from the production design , editing directing and lighting to look like a rundown London of the seventies and Hungary(Checkozakia in the original). Superb

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Sometimes You Need A Scorecard.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
24 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm giving this production some bonus points for the elegant photography, composition, acting, and the use of sound. Oh, and for being a movie that should be X rated because in all these respects it's a movie made for adults rather than ten-year olds. There's very little violence. Nobody's head is removed with a hedge trimmer. There are a few shootings but never once do we see the shooter and victim in the same frame. The camera doesn't wobble as if held by a drunk and the pallet, though muted, is not drawn from the cadaverous green area. Felicitations.

The story is basically simple. The never-smiling, extremely cool, Gary Oldman is George Smiley, part of some high-up British intelligence agency. It's 1973 and there is a Moscow Mule somewhere in the department. Smiley and one or two help mates finally dig him out. The biggest rat of all gets away -- I think.

However, the screenplay meanders all over the place, with mostly passionless subplots that turn the film into a Cretan labyrinth with no Minotaur, just the labyrinth. You need patience to get through this; and a mature sensibility, not one attuned to instant and complete gratification.

The two most tragic scenes.

(1) Tom Hardy is a young British spy in Budapest who falls for the young woman he's squeezing secret information out of. Hardy himself is handsome, I suppose. He looks like Kevin Costner with Marlon Brando lips. But his girl friend, Svetlana Khodchenkova, is an absolute knockout with her blue tartar eyes. I wish the USSR had collapsed earlier than it did so we could have gotten to know her better, although, come to think of it, she was only seven or eight when the implosion took place. Anyway, she winds up with a bullet through her head. That's tragic.

(2) One of the subplots involves an ex British spy, tortured by the Reds, now a stern teacher in a boy's boarding school. At first arid and unforgiving in class, he forms a friendship with a chubby little kid who is an outsider at the school too. But the teacher is drawn back into "the circus" and towards the end, when the plain little social isolate tries to give him a present, the teacher curses and shoos him away, knowing that his peaceful, pastoral existence must come to an end. All of us murderers who work for the state must know how the school teacher feels.

The cast is fine. I was happy to see the craggy face of John Hurt as "Control." He gave me such splendid support in the classic "From The Hip." I liked him too because he was shorter than I. The rest of the cast is equally good.

Except for what I take to be the Etonian haircut, Benedict Cumberbatch as Smiley's reliable, homosexual assistant, reminds me of Kenneth Williams from the "Carry On" series. Incidentally, the brief scene in which Cumberbatch's homosexuality is revealed, there is only one line of dialog that trips the viewer to what's happening: "If there's someone else --" Otherwise, as so often elsewhere, you might not know what the hell is going on.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

If you like action, this movie is NOT for you

Author: thom-644-91736 from United States
10 January 2014

Sucked!! Plain and simple. It may have changed as the movie went on, but to be honest, I couldn't even force myself to finish this complete yawner. Slow and boring.

I think I watched maybe an hour of it before it drove me nuts with it's pure suckage. James Bond or Jason Bourne it is NOT! So if that's what you're looking for in a movie, be warned.

Okay, so I'm supposed to write more lines about how this movie was so incredibly boring. Hmmm, well the dialog was quiet and not very interesting. It was pretty depressing if I remember correctly. Well, hope this is enough to get this to work this time.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Complete travesty of a movie

Author: Sverre Kongleskogheim from Norway
3 January 2014

The only people that will applaud this movie is: movie critics of the all too common variety that thinks that the more boring, meaningless and artyfarty a movie is, the better it is, and fans of the book and/or original screening. Anyone else that does, should seek professional help. Because this is a movie that goes on and on without anything interesting or exiting ever happening. To call this a thriller, is like calling watching a tortoise move having a front row seat to a fast-paced race to the death. Only in the last scene something exiting nearly happens, but the director elects not to show it to us. He must have thought that after over two hours of interminable boredom, the shock of something actually happening would be too much for some and might cause heart attacks. Sometimes the editors make halfhearted attempts to liven things up - by resorting to completely unannounced and utterly confusing jumps in time and space. Gary Oldmans excellent acting skills goes completely to waste, and could easily be replaced by Sylvester Stallone and his infamous lack of emotions. This movie is SO bad, that I initially believed it to be made by Norwegian State TV (NRK).

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Boring & confusing

Author: Tom_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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6 out of 10 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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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:


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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