60 Second Movie Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)
January 13, 2012 9 Comments
The 2011 film of John Le Carré’s 1974 espionage novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy reminds us that there was terrorism before our current global state of affairs, and that governments were clearly involved, in a way we used to recognize.
It’s a slow-moving film with a plot that is sometimes tricky to follow, and I loved it. The pace is never actually boring — the intent is not to dazzle you à la Matt Damon’s excellent Bourne Identity films, and the purpose is not to give you a neatly wrapped puzzle that makes you feel smart because you can follow along. What it gave me was a sense of fascinated disorientation, of the kind I might have felt if involved in the events myself.
The looks were also fun for me. Who has the audacity these days to give you a leading man who looks like this?
I don’t think I’ve seen Gary Oldman since his 1992 turn in Dracula, and this was mighty different. Quiet, unassuming, and ordinary, his George Smiley reminds us that the people holding these jobs were indeed people. His ordinariness doesn’t signify that he’s in over his head, as you trust his competence throughout, but instead adds a solidity to the character.
It was also nostalgic for me in that I have vague recollections of being in England as a little boy on a trip in the 1970s, and it looking very much like what this film portrays — the fashion, the colors, the telephone booths. It’s definitely another era. Technology is still important — look, there’s a telex machine! — but you can just slap your briefcase down on the desk because there’s no computer monitor in the way.
I felt that the film delivered, so if it seems like the kind of movie you might enjoy, you will, know what I mean?
And here’s the trailer:
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