Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Tomas Alfredson) 2011

TTSS is set during the Cold War and involves the MI6.  George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is brought out of retirement for one last case by Control (John Hurt).  An agent (Tom Strong) was exposed in an operation and Control believes it was in an attempt to get the name of a mole at the very top of MI6.  Smiley has to determine if it is one of four men.

I suppose I will tackle the complaint I hear most often from people.  I keep hearing people bitch about the fact the movie is too “complicated“.  I really don’t understand this at all.  This movie is densely packed with exposition.  I mean when you take something that normally takes a miniseries to unravel and put it into a two hour movie, then scenes are going to be packed with info.  Look, I really am no Rhodes scholar and I have my share of movies which I get confused over.  But all I had to do in this movie was just pay attention to what the characters were saying.  Seriously, what the hell are so many people getting hung up on?

I’m not going to get into any spoilers so this review may be shorter than usual.  TTSS is a very well crafted spy thriller/mystery.  Alfredson does a great job recreating the time period and establishing the paranoid atmosphere of the movie.  The movie is packed with top Brit stars who do a good job despite some really thin roles in some cases.  The plot also has many of the natural swerves which makes the mystery interesting.  Really, I think most of the hate I am seeing is a backlash to the earlier glowing reviews (some placing it at #1 of the year).  This movie is just a spy thriller.  It is a well made spy thriller, but at the end of the day it is a spy thriller.  When they come out and find it is not some grand statement on Brittain or the Cold War or paranoia they get pissed off.

I do have my issues with TTSS.  It does feel like the plot is compressed with the two hour time span.  Some scenes are jam packed with dry exposition and even with the expert talent here, it still feels like an audiobook rather than a movie.  The majority of the characters, especially the four suspects, are completely ignored.  We never get a good feel of them as characters so there is not much impact when we find out who the mole is.  This movie needed more time for us to get to know the characters and to pace things out better.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a good movie.  It is not the best movie of the year, nor anywhere near the worst.  It is good, and I’m fine with that.  It is a well written spy movie with good acting and director with an eye for detail.  It has its problems mainly due to the constricting of the dense source material, but it doesn’t ruin the movie.  If you were interested in this movie I would still give it a shot.  Maybe this is best suited for home viewing.


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