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See the film then read the book
on 19 February 2014
If you are a le Carre fan watch the film first. Basically a good story, but disappointing.
The film starts very well by showing how a road accident confirms to an department struggling for its survival the need to mount an operation in an attempt to justify its existence. It is from this point the film is spoilt by a lack of background detail, as though parts of the story had to be cut to keep within budget. Also the use of a young illegal immigrant as the agent with little knowledge and training coupled with his attitude put into a no win situation stretches the imagination to the desperate state of the 'Department's' resources. The final scenes of children playing give a somewhat ironic twist to the opening scenes. Not the best adaptation of a J le C novel, but it does introduce a character who is to become a main feature in later books, (not certain where this one comes in the order of writing). I think a BBC version would do the book more justice. Alternatively, read the book, don't bother with the film.