Newest Review: ... on a book written by John Le Carre in 1974, and is set in 1973. The plot is set mainly on mind games, not fast paced action and intense ... more
This would make more sense if I had read the book!
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Blu-ray + DVD)
Author Name: superness11
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Blu-ray + DVD)
Advantages: Colin firth
Disadvantages: Complex plot
Before I start the review I will say that I have not read John Le Carré's novel that the film is based nor have I seen the TV series. I decided to buy the film for my boyfriend who was disappointed that he missed it at the cinema. I'd like to say I loved the film when we settled down to watch it one Friday night, but I just found it a little too complicated to follow and I kept getting the characters mixed up. I did finally 'get it' and once the film was over I enjoyed discussing it with my boyfriend but it is not the sort of film you can watch while having a conversation or trying to make dinner; it requires your full attention.
The film is set in the early 1970s during the bleak Cold War era. After an operation in Budapest goes wrong and Jim Prideaux a secret service agent gets killed, the head of British Intelligence 'Control' resigns. George Smiley who was a spy working under control is also forced out of the Intelligence service.
Percy Alleline becomes the new Chief of the Circus after control leaves and has Bill Haydon as his deputy. They establish their status by delivering important Soviet intelligence material, code named "Witchcraft." Alleline shares Witchcraft material with the Americans and in return obtains valuable American intelligence. After a year of being retired and adjusting to regular life, Smiley is brought out of retirement by Oliver Lacon, the Civil Servant in charge of intelligence. He is asked to investigate an allegation there is a long-term mole in a senior role in the British Intelligence. Smiley starts his investigation and as the plot thickens around him, he considers that the failure of the Hungary operation and the continuing success of Operation Witchcraft corroborate the idea that there is a mole within the service. Through interviewing various people, he starts to piece together bits of the jigsaw and eventually identifies the mole.
The film is dark and drab which adds to mystery and intrigue but again makes the film slightly hard to follow as in parts it just seems a bit too boring. It's full of dusty old files, clapped out caravans and brown suits. I just could not get excited about the film but I appreciate how the director has tried to capture the essence of the British period and stay close to how the book portrays it. There are quite a lot of characters to get to grips with in such a short amount of time and as the story drifts from the Hungary mission to the time with Control to the present time; it is quite hard to get to grips with a time line. At the end of the film it all falls in to place nicely and the hero of the film, Smiley definitely gets his rewards for his hard work despite their being a few ups and downs on the way. Gary Oldman is enchanting as this old spy Smiley, very likeable and diligent, you end up rooting for him the whole way through the film.
The name of the film comes from the codename that Control gives to lead players of the circus, "Tinker" (Alleline), "Tailor" (Haydon), "Soldier" (Bland), "Poorman" (Esterhase) and "Beggarman" (Smiley). I rather like this and when it is explained in the film, it seems to bring the characters together. The plot is slow but complex. Smiley works hard to figure out who the mole is but he never seems to do anything urgently. There are no anxious scenes, no fight scenes but if you miss a bit of the film, it could take you a long time to figure out what is going on.
I think Colin Firth who players Haydon is really good in the film, I like him at the best of time but it was nice to see a good bit of eye candy in the film ,probably the main reason I kept watching in all honesty. I persevered with this film and learnt the characters names, I rooted for Smiley, I thought about who the mole could be and then at the end when the mole was revealed, I expected something bigger. I was so underwhelmed, the door opens and there is the mole. The whole film has been counting down to this moment and it is a bit of a let down.
So overall -
An interesting film but rather too slow and complex for me.
Blu ray extras
The Blu ray costs £17.00 and is available now. As far as Blu rays go, I would not rush to buy it on this medium. It has a grainy old effect that could be found with a VHS video rather than ultra cool Blu ray technology. Obviously this is intentional though. You would have thought that to make up for it, the blue ray should come with some brilliant bonuses but it does not. You do get some interviews with cast and crew including le Carre and you also get some deleted scenes. Not really much to write home about.
Summary: An interesting film set in brown and grey
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