Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Director: Tomas Alfredson
Writers:   Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan, John le Carre
Cast:        Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Toby Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Hurt, Mark Strong

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

The film is an adaptation of John le Carre's novel with the same name which had earlier been adapted as a BBC seven part mini series. Some of the minor criticism that the film received was with regards to the dilution of complexity that comes with condensing the universe that John le Carre created into a two hour feature film. Having not read the novel, I found the film to be sufficiently complex and non-expositionary to be enjoyed as a standalone film especially when contrasted with the other films that usually come in this genre. The plot can be quite hard to follow with lots of things happening all of a sudden as it move towards the end but the pacing is just about right and it is refreshing when the filmmakers treat their audience as intelligent beings capable enough to decipher things. 

I was watching it for the second time and was trying to figure out whether it was kind of predictable in the way 'Whodunnit' films usually sets up the culprit as a total surprise. To be fair the predictability in the film is more due to the casting choice rather than the way things unfold.  

Tomas Alfredson had earlier directed the excellent 'Let the right one in' and his next project will be 'The Snowman'. It is quite some feat for him to direct such an incredible cast without getting overwhelmed in his first major budget English film. The bleak English weather in the period setting is captured just about the right way with the colour tone he uses in the film which is in sharp contrast with many other period films where everything looks extra shiny. Have to say that Gary Oldman is getting a bit typecast these days in the wise older man roles and I would love him to do something similar to the mad stuff that he did in the 90s like 'Leon' and 'True Romance'.

Rating: 4.5/5