Movie Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

18 Oct

Yes, this movie came out a while ago but I finally got the chance to see it and felt like sharing my views. That’s the beauty of having your own blog!

John Le Carre is probably one of the most sold spy authors of all time and the last film adaptation of a novel of his turned out quite well (The Constant Gardener). This is a completely different story, in a  different time and presented very, very, differently. TTTS follows a spy agency in the Cold War and the emotions of them and the things they do. It’s about espionage, lies deceit and the harsh reality that spies face.

There’s a stellar cast here including Gary Oldman as the central character, Smiley, as well as Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Hurt, Tom Hardy and many more. It’s very much an ensemble movie and all of the cast (including ones not mentioned) did a good job of portraying their character. Personally, I thought that Cumberbatch took the cake and Mark Strong excelled too.

Swedish director Tomas Alfredson took this as his first English language film, having previously done Let The Right One In which was a massive hit and was so successful that Let Me In was made, the American remake. Let The Right One In wasn’t exactly the same genre but Alfredson wasn’t stepping out of his comfort zone to ouch with this. This is an incredibly bleak, dark, grim and melancholic film. Theres no doubt that he can direct. He’s executed that atmosphere perfectly and has drawn out some great performances. Shots are handled with a lot of precision and the emotions come across strongly as a result.

Where this movie faults would be the screenplay and the editing. BEcause this is an ensemble film and there are a lot of story lines and characters, you have to control it really well. I don’t think it was controlled well at all. There were times that felt disjointed and pointless to the stage where it didn’t feel like it was going anywhere. It’s very true to the book but flashbacks and character perspectives feel like a hot mess.

My only other gripe with this movie would be the over stylisation of it. On a couple occasions it seemed came across as a GQ advert. Yes, the art directions was impressive but it was incredibly overdone.

There’s no doubt that there are some positives here. Performances and Tomas Alfredson’s direction. However, the story fails to keep the viewer interested a lot of the time and feels jumbled up.

Score: 3/5

10 Responses to “Movie Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

  1. Sonia October 18, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    I have seen this film twice (my partner insisted on seeing it again) and struggled on each occasion
    I came away feeling as if it was a series of product placement for Fantastic Man or Il Homme not a serious piece of film work
    As much as enjoyed watching the wonderful Colin F, this was not enough to outweigh the struggle of sitting through 2 or so hours.

    • aculturedlad October 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

      I can’t agree with you more! It’s a fashion advert. The opening 10 minutes with the music and watching them go down the streets completely felt like a style advert. Colin Firth felt to me as one of the weaker performances. Not saying that he wasn’t good but Mark Strong and Benedict Cumberbatch outshone him. It also dragged on way too long!

      As always, thanks for the comment!

  2. colincarman October 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    Is this a new movie? Even the poster is terrifying. Great cast; will check it out.

    • aculturedlad October 21, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

      Thanks for the comment!

      No, it’s been out for a while, I was late to see it but had the need to express my views. It is a superb cast under a good director but there was a lot that was flawed about the movie particularly with the very lagged plot.

  3. conordcfc October 20, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    I agreed more with your review than others, things just didn’t fit for me! Take a look at mine if you would be so kind!

    • aculturedlad October 21, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

      Thanks for the comment!

      I read your review and left a comment. I just didn’t get why people were raving about it, there wasn’t much substance. I really like your blog and have subbed 🙂

  4. karmicspins October 29, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    So you don’t recommend it? I’m torn on this movie, reviews have been sort of split down the middle. I need to watch it soon to make up my mind haha

    • aculturedlad October 30, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

      Thanks for the comment!

      The more I think about the film, I realise how much I didn’t enjoy it. Maybe it’s just something I couldn’t get into? It just felt so jumbled up and didn’t provoke any emotion in the viewer whatsoever. All I can say is meh. Probably rent it because most people seem to have enjoyed it!

  5. 3guys1movie October 30, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    hmmm so wait for the rental. This looked interesting and I love me some Gary Oldman. Nice review

    • aculturedlad October 30, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

      Thanks for the comment!

      Yeah, I would wait for it to come out on DVD so you can rent it. I couldn’t get into it for some reason. The plot was really long and just plain boring. Perhaps it was just me!

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