1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good looking and well played, but too short.,
This review is from: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [DVD]  (DVD)
I have read the book and watched the TV series so it's hard not to make comparisons, but I'll try and resist.
Firstly I have to say that Gary Oldman's performance is excellent as Smiley. He manages to convey the seemingly benign but occasionally menacing character of the retired intelligence bod very well. It's not his fault he has to contend with the previous performance by AG. Smileys age isn't stated in the book, but the backstory would make him mid to late fifties, so age wise Oldman looks spot on.
The set designs are great - particularly the meeting room for the top bods and the tracking shots of the secret documents moving around "The Circus". The supporting cast are great - the standout being Ricky Tarr (Tom Hardy). Attention to seventies period detail is again very good.
Where it is let down is in the lack of time to tell the story properly. Mainly to do with the four suspects that may be the mole. They've employed great actors but given them little screen time. It is hard to care who the mole is if you don't know anything about the back stories and motivations of the suspects, how they relate to Smiley, why he might favour or be biased against them. Ciaron Hinds barely gets to speak as the Bolshie (in more ways than one) Roy Bland.
There are plenty of plot short cuts that don't really matter either way but are necessary to shoe-horn the plot into the running length. Other reviewers have gone on about these at length depending on how much they love the book or TV show. For me it's the lack of character development that lets it down.