Thursday, April 24, 2014
Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Whenever Americans go for a British thriller, they usually gear towards anything involving James Bond. But Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy offers something slightly different as it is a thriller with a rather nostalgic vibe and has a slow yet intense and suspenseful pace.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a story set during the days of the Cold War about a group of British intelligence agents who work in a unit known as "The Circus" that was formerly led by a man nicknamed "Control" (John Hurt). When there is talks of a mole within "The Circus" that is working for the Soviet Union, a formerly retired agent named George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is called back into action to find the mole.
What I Liked About It:
First off, I absolutely loved, and I mean, LOVED, the film's direction by Tomas Alfredson. I have seen one of Alfredson's previous films, the Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In, and this film definitely has the same look as that film. The way he directs this film creates a rather tense and cold atmosphere which really sets the film's mood. Even if the film was horrible, I would still rave about how amazing Alfredson's direction is. Some of my favorite scenes are the ones where the top agents are gathered together in one big yellow room and when they communicate, your suspicions begin to arouse as to who may be the mole.
Another thing that I liked was how the film shows us a rather different type of spy. As I've said, we are so used to seeing a superspy like James Bond put on screen, but here, we are given simple British spies that use intellect and wit to save the day rather than gadgets and Aston Martins. One thing that I thought was neat was how they use different code names to label suspects, like "Tinker" and "Tailor". The film even manages to weave in themes involving not just terrorism, but paranoia and anxiety as well. Some of the main characters arouse suspicion of there being a mole within their system working with the enemy. That kind of fear and suspicion somewhat reminds me of how we are today since with many tragedies taking place, like 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing, we are constantly in a state of panic and eventually suspicion.
I also really liked the performances from the smorgasbord of British actors. You have actors like Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, Ciaran Hinds, Mark Strong, and Toby Jones. All of whom give outstanding performances, especially Gary Oldman who gives a rare leading performance as the rather quiet and calm yet interrogative George Smiley.
What I Didn't Like About It:
I'm not going to lie, at first I thought the film was hard to follow, but things eventually started to pick up. I may actually need a second viewing just to really grasp it, but it is still a very good film nevertheless.
Overall, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a quiet, nuanced thriller that features phenomenal direction from Tomas Alfredson as well as brilliant performances from the actors. It not only has a story that is set in the past, but manages to feature themes that are still relevant in today's world and introduce audiences to a different kind of spy that doesn't need fancy guns and gadgets to solve the case. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone as it is very slowly-paced, so it won't be for everyone. But, I would still gave it a shot because you might something you like about it.