Smiley, George Smiley.

I saw ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ in the cinema a couple months ago, but since it’s still fresh in my mind I thought I’d give it a review here.

First of all I have to vent my frustrations that this film was not nominated for an Academy Award or a Golden Globe (Oops, did I just give away how much I like it?). It was nominated for “Best Adapted Screenplay” and “Best Original Score”, as well as “Best Actor” for Gary Oldman. However, if the Oscars had any sense they’d flag this thing for “Best Film” before giving any credit to things like ‘Tree of Life’.

Anyway, ‘TTSS’ is a movie all about male mistrust.

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6.            – Imdb

A movie about a suspected Russian spy within a small elite group of British spies. Who better to uncover the mole than…an ex-spy?!

That’s just about the most espionage-centered premise I’ve ever heard of. I’m game! Basically, there is evidence to suggest that one of the top five spies at MI6 is working secretly for the Soviet Union. These five have the code-names “Tinker”, “Tailor”, “Soldier”, “Poorman”, and “Beggarman”. Gary Oldman is brought in to figure out which one is the “rat”.

Prepare for 127 minutes of extreme tension and intrigue. This is not a movie about car chases, but instead one about interrogation and mystery. Here, you will have to pay attention to every detail. “What’s not right in this picture?”, “Why is the top button of his shirt undone?”, “Why did he smile just now?”, things like that. You’ll find yourself engrossed in the main characters suspicions as well as your own. In the end, one of them has to be guilty, but who?

The two performances that stand out to me are that of Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy. Oldman gives the most quiet and solemn performance you can imagine. He hardly says a word, and it’s all behind the eyes. Hardy is the opposite. He’s young, he’s in love, and he’s under extreme stress. He has a monologue scene consisting of an emotional breakdown on Smileys couch, and it’s by far the most moving thing in the entire film.

Add to this the beautiful 1970’s cinematography and symbolic images, ‘TTSS’ is simply the best of the best of spy thrillers.

A word of warning, however. The film is somewhat slow-paced. It’s not too off-putting, but if you think you’re going in to see James Bond you’ll be disappointed. It makes up for it, however, with an interesting and complicated plot. And by complicated I mean complicated. If you had trouble following ‘Inception’, believe me; this film “goes deeper”.


Did you know that the Oscar-nomination Gary Oldman garnered for this film is the first one he’s ever had?




Rant Over!

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