Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Movie Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Set in early 70's, George Smiley(Gary Oldman) and "Control"(John Hurt) the head of British Intelligence nicknamed "Circus" resigns after a clandestine operation in Budapest goes haywire. One of their operatives Jim Prideaux(Mark Strong) is shot by the Hungarian Intelligence. Control and Smiley walks out the building to the relief of their coworkers - Percy Alleline(Toby Jones), Bill Haydon(Colin Firth), Roy Bland(Ciaran Hinds) and Toby Esterhase(David Dencik). Before long but after Control's death, Smiley is contacted to conduct an operation to find a Soviet mole. The mole is one among the four people who were happy to see him and Control walk away in shame.

In this adaptation of eponymous novel by John le Carré ;the director Tomas Alfredson brings in the camera very close to his actors in sync with the author's narrative style of John le Carré. The camera is so close to the actors that you can even see the slightest eyebrow raise clearly. This helps in building intrigue and suspense in many scenes. There are no break-ins by performing superhuman acrobatics. Despite this, the director is able to generate anxiety in minds of the audience during ordinary break-ins with a combination of brilliant acting, photography and music. The movie is about loyalty, treachery, deceit and redemption. The emphasis is on emotions and interactions based in reality. There is no romance associated with the job. It is dangerous. But you work in a dull environment surrounded by even duller colleagues. The flip side of the movie is the pace in the initial part of the movie where nothing happens and also the flashbacks to the past which confuses anyone who has not read the novel or is unfamiliar with le Carré style.

Performance wise, the movie belongs to Gary Oldman. For me, Gary Oldman is an actor who can't be idle. He is moving his face, his hands or the body constantly and suddenly. Now, think of a Gary Oldman where all these movements are minimal and measured. That is how he plays Smiley. The dialogues are minimal. His body movements are very slow and calculated. This in itself is an interesting watch. The scenes to watch out for are when he extracts information out from his former colleagues - one cajoling with a bottle of liquor and the other threatening extradition. Another scene is when he asks his team member to do an illegal activity and also instructs for not revealing Smiley's name if caught in the act.

Must watch. Keep in mind Smiley is no James Bond. You will not find guns and girls in here. But you will find a good spy movie told realistically.

Language: English

Genre: Thriller

Rating: ****



12 comments:

  1. Read the novel two weeks back after reading the review of the movie :D . Planning to read other Smiley novels of Le Carre. Thanks for the review.

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    1. Le Carre has a unique style. I recently read one of his novels. Earlier, I didn't like his style at all. With age, I have begun to like it. :)

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  2. was wondering whether this movie was worth my time. and gary oldman didn't exactly impress me back when i was infatuated with the harry potter series. i have a seriously huge thing going on for sirius black (was,is and will always be black's biggest fangirl), so then again, i guess no one would have been able to live up to my expectations for sirius potrayals.

    shall i give it a go then?
    =)

    ps-great style of film reviewing.loved it!

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    1. I guess there was no other British actor to play Black. One full novel, you think he is bad and then it turns otherwise. I think he was selected as he has played villains earlier. :)

      You should try it out. You will find a different Oldman here. :)

      PS: Thank you. :)

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  3. Serious espionage thriller, a genre that do not receive much attention nowadays, seem to be coming back to life with movies like these...

    It is only expected that it's been directed by an European Import...

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    1. The movie is also made with European backing. Anglo-French production. :)

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  4. Earlier I was planning not to make an attempt to watch this movie, but you convinced me the other way round... :O

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    1. :) Let me know if you liked it after watching the movie.

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  5. Good review. Captured the essence, what this movie is really about. A wonderful performance from Gary Oldman. This is a realistic spy movie.

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  6. Excellent review and as rightly pointed out by Arun, Gary was extremely good in his role :)

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    1. To think it was a role which was initially portrayed by Alec Guiness, the burden of Gary was enormous!

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