Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)    3 Stars

“The enemy is within.”

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)


Director: Tomas Alfredson

Cast: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy

Synopsis: In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6.






For the most part, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy comprises of various grey, middle-aged men in suits suspiciously eyeing one another in windowless offices as they try to figure out which of them is the mole who is supplying vital information to Soviet agent Karla, the nemesis of colourless George Smiley (Gary Oldman – Robocop, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).   It’s therefore something of a surprise to find that it’s also utterly compelling from the first shot to the last.   Oldman nails the part of Smiley: expressions barely register on his grey features, thoughts and emotions are subtly and impeccably expressed by a slight compression of the lips or barely perceptible raising of one eyebrow behind 1970s-size spectacles.   The story takes place in London, in the early seventies, when our intelligence people were paranoid about the Soviet threat.   Director Tomas Alfredson keeps the images hazy, a brown and beige tapestry that encapsulates our collective memory of those times.   I’ve never read Le Carre’s novel or seen the Alec Guinness TV series, and while the plot was sometimes difficult to follow, it’s not beyond the comprehension of a typical (thinking) adult.

(Reviewed 5th March 2012)

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