Monday, September 16, 2013

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Tomas Alfredson, 2011) Review

It has recently come to my attention that legendary actor Gary Oldman hasn't one a single Oscar. This news, frankly, disgusts me. He has come close though so I thought we'd take a look at the only film that he's been nominated for an Oscar for, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a film that might have gone under the radar. Let's take a look.

During the Cold War, the head of the British Intelligence, Control (John Hurt), steps down after a botched up mission in Hungary. Events conspire to reveal that there is a Russian agent, a mole, within the British Intelligence. Control's departure caused agent George Smiley (Gary Oldman) into retirement but not before being sent to gather information rogue agent Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy) about the mole and Ricki's backstory own branch. Smiley takes it upon himself to find the mole and secure the county's safety from foreign threat.

It's good to see a film where every actor does a good job (well, all the main ones anyway). Naturally, Gary Oldman in the lead helps this aspect but other stars such as Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch and Colin Firth deliver tremendous performances. I also like the look of the film such as the aesthetic design and use of camera positioning for some interesting shots (primarily in the meeting room). The strong narrative is also a highlight in the film with multiple narratives for each character that end up linking together well in the end.

However, I will admit that first time through and this film was very overwhelming. This is most apparent in the narrative. It seemed to be all over the place and hard to follow however upon multiple viewings, it becomes clearer and becomes a strong narrative as a result. I have no experience with the original works of this franchise however I think you won't be alienated by this film as it introduces the characters well.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy may seem overwhelming upon first watching as you may feel as lost and confused as I was the first time watching it but after thinking about it and rewatching it, it becomes clearer and stronger. The great acting and writing also helps make this a great film that I feel went under the radar a bit considering that I don't know anyone that has seen it.

Confusing at first, it ends up becoming a strong and great film topped with fantastic acting.

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