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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy 2011

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A senior figure at the Secret Intelligence Service, aka The Circus, George Smiley was forced out by his colleagues. But when it transpires The Circus has been infiltrated by a Soviet double agent he's invited back to flush out the mole. Unsure of who to trust and national security at risk he must work in secret.

Starring:
Mark Strong, John Hurt
Runtime:
2 hours, 2 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Thriller, Action & Adventure
Director Tomas Alfredson
Starring Mark Strong, John Hurt
Supporting actors Zoltán Mucsi, Péter Kálloy Molnár, Ilona Kassai, Imre Csuja, Gary Oldman, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Ciarán Hinds, Colin Firth, Kathy Burke, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Graham, Arthur Nightingale, Simon McBurney, Tom Hardy, Amanda Fairbank-Hynes, Peter O'Connor, Roger Lloyd Pack
Studio Optimum Releasing
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First off, I want to say that I own the book, the 7 part Tv series, the BBC4 audiobook and this DVD of the film. I'm not trying to make out, I'm some kind of expert, (I know I'm not!), but to make the point that each is unique and has to be judged on its own merits. They are all in a different medium and are distinct, although the source material is obviously the same. I mean what is the point of critically comparing any film to its book?
Anyway, I approached this film in that way, on its own merits and I think it is very accomplished. The acting on show is first class, with turns from Firth, Hurt, Cumberbatch and Toby Jones and Tom Hardy. At the centre, Oldman is very good as the introspective, cerebral, Smiley. There is a terrific little scene early on, in a car, where there is a wasp or bee buzzing around inside the vehicle. Whereas the other occupants flap their arms around trying to shoo it away, Smiley simply watches it and calmly opens his window to let it fly out. It nicely frames the character of the man in a simple scene with no dialogue.
The identity of a spy in MI6 is slowly revealed as Smiley, methodically, pieces the clues together.
(As a side note, the lives of these people really don't seem very appealing to me at all. just a life of suspicion and subterfuge, with a bit of paranoia and loneliness thrown in, at no extra cost).
I gave it 4 stars out of 5, not as a film adaptation of a book, but as a film. It is very well made, the acting is top-notch and it has a gripping story. Ticks the boxes for me.
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Format: DVD
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.
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Format: Blu-ray
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.
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