Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons. [imdb]

Nominated for 3 Oscars:

Best Actor: Gary Oldman

Best Adapted Screenplay

Best Original Score

Well the good news is Gary Oldman is finally an Oscar nominee... we can take him out of the list for the best never-nominated actors outthere. And this makes me happy: I adored him in Dracula, thought he was impressive in Leon and The Contender and I even liked him in The 5th Element. It was about time. That being said, Tinker Tailor itself is not much of a film.

It needs to be said this was directed by Tomas Alfredson, the Sweedish director behind the 2008 masterpiece Let the Right One In. He has such an unique style and I can see his fingerprints all over Tinker Tailor, though this can't overcome the problems in the screenplay. But this would be a higlight: the film is mostly well directed, it has a mood, it's stylish, cool and everything. Also, on the plus side: Gary's performance; while he doesn't get that much to do, his simple presence is mesmerizing and he does give an impressive almost-monologue describing an episode from his past. The supporting actors are equally great (especially Firth, Hardy and Cumberbatch), the cinematography is beautiful and the art direction seems appropriate.

Then, where's the problem? I'd say in the screenplay or maybe in the book, which I haven't read. This is a mystery film, but it doesn't build up to anything; in the end, I couldn't care less who the spy was, and this is something the film tries to put a lot of attention into. The whole film just moves along too slowly, I thought the screenplay would've needed some heavy editing or some serious restructuring. And there's something else that bothered me about the ending, but I wouldn't wanna spoil it right now.

The elements are there, but in the end it feels incomplete in the suspense department, overcrowded when it comes to unnecessary details, and overall nothing to get that excited about. Though I'm sure some will really like it. Even its more tense scenes felt a bit flat and not so creative.

My rating for the film: 6/10. I didn't get to talk about it's 3rd nomination for Original Score: Alberto Iglesias does a fine job, as usual, and it's a worthy nomination.


  1. I only saw this movie till the scenes in Hungary ended. :D Didn't have any time but I liked it so far...

  2. well, lately we've rarely agreed, so you'll probably like it. :)

  3. It's not about who the spy is.

    It's about the sea of malaise that has crept over the circus. The mood is more than the plot. I'd've thought as a fan of Tree of Life you would've appreciated this too.

  4. I think it IS partly about who the spy is... but there's plenty of silly towards the end... how can I not spoil it?! The thing with the shooting... and the reason for that. I thought that was a bit out of nowhere and it seemed just thrown in there.

    and the scene with Cumberbatch stealing the files... that should've been tense, it didn't look to to me.

    The Tree of Life was about spirituality. This, I admit, has a great mood, but it feels empty. But great mood.

  5. Well, Ben said everything I want to. I can't think of anything else, but I suppose you didn't get what you expected...which is understandable.