Film, TV and the Arts

Film, TV and the Arts

Friday, 16 September 2011

Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

An unexpected man is atop cinema's circus

Director: Tomas Alfredson
Screenwriters: Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan, based on the novel by John le Carré
Cast: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds and David Dencik
Plot: A mission is botched in Hungary, and the ruling order of MI:6 is sent packing. However, when it emerges that there is a long-standing and high-ranking mole, one of the retired spies, George Smiley, is brought back to "the circus" to find the traitor.
Running Time: 127m 21s
Certificate: 15 - Contains strong language, sex, violence and bloody injury detail

Cinema has a new number one spy. Grey-haired, myopic and a cuckold, George Smiley is a million miles away from James Bond or Jason Bourne, and whereas they would thrill audiences with car chases and gunfights, Smiley exhilarates by interrogating an empty chair.

The fact is that comparisons between those franchises and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are flawed for so many reasons, but if this film is successful (and it has great potential to be so) it will be a great victory for the sort of intelligence which was merely glimpsed in Casino Royale and entirely absent from Quantum of Solace. With a potential trilogy in the offing, could it be that the multiplexes are about to adore a spy who is “small, podgy, and at best middle-aged”?

Read the rest on The Spectator Arts Blog

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