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27 December 2011 @ 08:57 pm
Film Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)  
A remake of the classic Cold War spy miniseries that originally starred Alec Guinness, based on John Le Carre's novel.



The plot is your classic Cold War spy espionage tale: there's a mole in top echelon of the British Intelligence who is feeding information to the Russians. Recently dismissed spy, George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is brought back in to flush him out with the help of fellow spy Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch).

The movie for the first hour takes its sweet time setting up all the plot pieces that all come together at the very end. The pacing is languid to say the least and unlike the spy action films of today, Tinker Tailor is minimal on the bloodshed and feature literally zero action sequences. Everything is based off of private conversations, secreting sensitive files out of offices, and sending coded ticket tape messages across the oceans. It's a nice nostalgic look back into the idealized good old days when spying was a gentleman's game and enemies respected one another.

The acting in the film was what really sold this movie to me, particularly Gary Oldman. His acting was not at all flashy but an exquisite study in how to work up a slow burn. In fact, all the more veteran actors (Colin Firth, Toby Jones, John Hurt, and Ciaran Hinds) did a lovely job and set higher standards for the younger ones (Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy).

So if anyone wants a high tense action film, this isn't the movie for you. But if you're willing to sit through a lot of set up and more slow build plot reveal, this is probably your cup of tea.

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The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on December 29th, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC)
The main complaint I've heard about the movie on this side of the pond is in regards to the pacing. But I think British movies and tv shows in general are less actiony and more thinky, due to budget restrictions, so I'm more used to slower paced things. But I don't think either of my parents would be down with it, so I'll probably have to wait for the dvd.

I was hoping for someone to tell me how Cumberbatch was in it. He's in two big movies, this one and Warhorse, and he's barely featured in any publicity for them. It's understandable since he's not the biggest star, but he's the one I'm most interested in at the moment. In the trailers I keep looking out for him to say something and all I get is brief flashes of ginger hair. :D

I'm avoiding your Sherlock review, because I don't want to spoil myself. I'm still hoping to get to see it. But thanks for this one!
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on December 30th, 2011 12:18 am (UTC)
The main complaint I've heard about the movie on this side of the pond is in regards to the pacing.

Definitely you have to be patient with this film for the first half. It really takes its time setting up the plot points but the acting is so good it's worth it.

I was hoping for someone to tell me how Cumberbatch was in it. He's in two big movies, this one and Warhorse, and he's barely featured in any publicity for them.

Cumberbatch was fine in Tinker Tailor for what he got as Peter Guillam. I think one reason why he hasn't been featured in the previews was that his character isn't exactly necessary for the plot. He was very useful to Gary Oldman's character but overall was kind of replaceable. You don't find out very much about Guillam apart from one personal thing and the acting in that scene was very good.

I haven't seen War Horse but I read a review by someone who said that Cumberbatch's role was very small but necessary for the plot to move forward.
The Writer They Call Tay: SHERLOCK: Sherlock shockawanderingbard on December 30th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen War Horse but I read a review by someone who said that Cumberbatch's role was very small but necessary for the plot to move forward.

I'm just pleased to see him getting parts in big things. I've liked him for a very long time and its nice to see him getting some recognition. Even if I'm afraid he's going to collapse from exhaustion.