218 of 270 people found the following review helpful
It either clicks or it doesn't
, 8 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Double Play (Blu-ray + DVD) (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. 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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you?