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214 of 263 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It either clicks or it doesn't
Must admit, I'm quite surprised that even the mainstream critics dared to rate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy so highly. Not because it isn't brilliant, which it is, but because critics have to consider their readership and, well... I would say that if you are finding the film dull or uninvolving then it's just not your cup of tea, which is fine. In fairness it is very...
Published on 8 Dec 2011 by Mr. D. Glover

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Having seen and enjoyed the Alec Guinness version and read the book this new version of Tinker Tailor was a big disappointment. Much of the original story had been cut and even the final scene didn't correspond to the original ending. Certainly a poor imitation and to us, a waste of money. Perhaps people who haven't seen the original would like it but our copy has now...
Published 14 months ago by JC


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214 of 263 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It either clicks or it doesn't, 8 Dec 2011
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Must admit, I'm quite surprised that even the mainstream critics dared to rate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy so highly. Not because it isn't brilliant, which it is, but because critics have to consider their readership and, well... I would say that if you are finding the film dull or uninvolving then it's just not your cup of tea, which is fine. In fairness it is very literary, the plot can be hard to keep up with and the dialogue is rather jargonistic (but really shouldn't be too difficult to decipher).
At the other end of the scale are the narrow-minded purists with their nostalgic view of the original BBC TV series, which was excellent for it's day but really doesn't hold up very well at all. I can remember when TV didn't pander to such short attention spans, but watching it on DVD I found the Alec Guinness version quite flat, and not in the moody, atmospheric way that it should be. It's okay to prefer the series, but that shouldn't come with an obligation to trash the film.
Tinker Tailor... gives us a small history lesson. This world of espionage is far removed from the bare-faced escapist fun of 007. The true face of the cold war in the 60's & 70's was this, a very private game played by lonely, vain, repressed old Oxbridge throwbacks in stuffy offices. Field agents were merely pawns to be used and abused. British Intelligence was under-funded, ineffective and disliked by the CIA. Gary Oldman's cool, understated incarnation of George Smiley views his former employer for what it has become- rejected, out-of-touch, eager to get back into the game and on the brink of it's own downfall. I hadn't read the novel beforehand but had no trouble following the plot or being absorbed by the story. All of the performances are great and the direction beautiful. What you get is a dark, dense, intelligent, sophisticated film. You may feel a little lost at times, but that's okay. All the pieces fit together in the end, and pretty much every scene turns out to have its own significance.
My only niggle would be a moment where we get to spend what seems like ten minutes watching Tom Hardy's character kissing his girlfriend. It felt like an intermission, but maybe that's just me. Apart from that, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the best film I've seen for years. At least LeCarre isn't as precious about his material as some of his fans. He loved it too.
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133 of 164 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not supposed to be the book, or the series..., 17 Jan 2012
For everyone comparing this new movie to the book and the tv series (and I am a fan of both) - Le Carre himself has said in interviews that he categorically did not want someone just copying the book or even the series. He wanted a new take on the story. Yes, it is different. Of course it would have been nice to have characters fleshed out a bit more, but then, I think that will be the problem with anyone who has read the book or seen the series - you expect the same thing stuffed into an hour something, and that is nigh on impossible. My only personal gripe is that I didn't really understand some seemingly superficial changes, like Sam Collins (in the book) being changed in name to Gerry Westerby (considering Gerry is a whole big character on his own in the second book, and ultra posh to boot), Czech Republic being changed to Hungary etc. But that is minor, and overall, I think this was a great, quiet movie, the kind of thing you just don't get anymore. To the commentator who said this movie was more about betrayal than spies, it's probably true that this was the emphasis, but in the book, it is just as much about the nature of betrayal in relationships as it is about spies (in the book see Guillam/Camilla, Smiley/Ann, Little Bill/Prideaux, Connie/The Circus and even reality as she knew it, etc etc), to the point where you wonder if there is anything redeeming about the world outside of the Circus.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I find the movie incredibly well done, however one ..., 24 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Amazon Instant Video)
I find the movie incredibly well done, however one must read the book in advance. It is indeed difficult to understand what is happening if you haven't read the book beforehand. What is more, the atmosphere of that time, as well as the real nature of the intelligence work were very well embodied by the actors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compact Reminder, 11 Mar 2014
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S. M. Evans "asylum69" (SOLIHULL, W Midlands, GB) - See all my reviews
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Considering it's only a fraction of the length of the well-known BBC adaptation with Alec Guinness, it's not bad. The performances are almost all sterling. Unfortunately I think John Hurt was miscast again. A bit too much of something to feel realistic. Everyone else was really good.
I'll be honest ... I've not read the book. The only comparison I have is the BBC version, and I do remember that quite well; everyone fits in nicely, and the overall tone is convincingly of the correct era. If you just want a little something to remind you of the basics and don't want to go through all the BBC episodes, this covers the important bases.
I still think the BBC version outshines it by far, but I didn't dislike this film like I was expecting to. I quite enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly seedy, 27 Feb 2013
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These books,film, tv series all require the creation of Le Carres somewhat faded, fusty melancholy world of espionage laced with sudden acts of violence and long simmering concoctions of betrayal and malice.
This movie does rather well in that department, ably served by the cast of players you know will not let the script down, even though dramatic flourishes are not sought nor produced.
I enjoyed it although it was always going to be a struggle to reproduce the heart of the original tale within the time constraints of conventional cinema. A respectablr
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 16 Feb 2013
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Enjoyed this dark, moody and atmospheric version. Gary Oldman managed the impossible and lived up to the original Alec Guiness portrayal of George Smiley.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, 21 Jan 2013
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l looked forward to this but disappointed by drawn-out preview/adverts. Good when it gets going but difficult to keep track of all the characters as it was so fast moving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the book, not the BBC serial, not Bond, not Bourne, 1 Jan 2013
By 
Mark Dyer (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
Why compare this 2 hour film with the 6 hour serial, or require it to be a precise rendition of a book of more than 400 pages? I thought it a fine attempt to take many plot threads and make two hours of entertainment from them, I enjoyed items that were not present in the book. I do wonder though how the following books will be filmed now that Guillam's character has been changed.

Firstly, there are no explosions, chases, babes or helicopters (as if any potential viewer didn't know that) so be prepared to sit, watch and think rather than expect action and glitz to flow over you. Sure, there are some holes and inconsistencies; I suppose that I take a less forensic view to viewing films than do many of the reviewers here.

I don't care that we don't see the characters build to point the way to the identity of the mole because for me the identity of the mole is immaterial. This is about loyalty, betrayal and sacrifice. A few examples:
* Guillam ends his relationship immediately on considering that it might be used against him, quite a sacrifice in my opinion.
* A terrific moment of acting as Smiley makes a deal with Tarr that he knows will violate Tarr's trust because he can't fulfil the spirit of the deal.
* What a strange world where someone who makes such a sacrifice for their country ends up living in a caravan and teaching at a boarding school after being bunged only a few quid and a car.

There were some nice juxtapositions that made me think of how fragile lives might be and the fine line between normality and hardship. During a most stressful task undertaken by Guillam we see many characters singing along and playing along to George Formby singing Mr Woo; presumably chosen in the script as being light and frivolous and something that Roy Bland would be likely to sing afterwards to show Guillam how closely he was being observed. Whilst Prideau was being tortured his `minder' was just sitting by reading a newspaper to while away the time.

The atmosphere was wonderfully dusty, smoky and brown so conveying the impression that these are strange, quiet people in a strange world. Oldman's acting was great but then I almost always agree that `less is more'.

Lastly, there was the great irony of the Soviet national anthem at the Christmas party; tremendous, made me laugh.

If you judge it on its own merits and treat it as entertainment then I think it is good value. It's not as good as the TV serial but why shouldn't it be different?
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4.0 out of 5 stars ... multi-episode production of TTSS but compressing many hours of good story and wonderful acting into two hours is not ..., 31 July 2014
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Laverdaman (Stafford, UK.) - See all my reviews
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I was and still am a big fan of the original Guinness multi-episode production of TTSS but compressing many hours of good story and wonderful acting into two hours is not going to be easy. After (reluctantly) accompanying my 'good lady' to see a cinema presentation of the Gary Oldman starred production I found that I was impressed enough to go into Amazon to purchase my own copy for repeat viewings. He, amongst a stellar cast, does a very believable and compelling job. Oldman has to be one of the best actors on the screen today, capable of 'inhabiting' a role so well that you forget who he actually is. Considering the amount of dialogue and 'fleshing out' of the characters that would have been impossible in the short time-span allowed, I would have given it five stars had I not had the privilege of enjoying the original therefore, in an unfair comparison, I give it four.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, 12 Oct 2013
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Having seen and enjoyed the Alec Guinness version and read the book this new version of Tinker Tailor was a big disappointment. Much of the original story had been cut and even the final scene didn't correspond to the original ending. Certainly a poor imitation and to us, a waste of money. Perhaps people who haven't seen the original would like it but our copy has now been donated to the local charity shop.
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