Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: the actionless spy movie. And that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it is left to deal with the real nitty gritty of intelligence work. Bad because it can come off as a little dull and monotonous at moments.
I’ll be honest; it was hard for me to get into this film. There wasn’t a lot of pull at the beginning of the movie. A very vague operation in Hungary goes wrong, and suddenly this prompts a mole hunt, though we’re not sure why and the urgency isn’t really felt. The gravity of the fact that there is a mole isn’t fully felt either.
Now normally, this failure to launch would result in the movie simply becoming a dud, as I was starting to feel this one certainly would be. But then a funny thing happened; I started to get pulled in. And as the movie went deeper, I found myself becoming more interested and more invested. And suddenly I found myself really liking it.
This disengaging start to the film should still be counted as a fault towards the movie, but what it does do is allow the layers of this cold war intelligence work to sink in. This in turn allows the details of the plot and of the situation to emerge, and before you know it there’s a pretty neat web of genuine spy tactics and details. There’s also some pretty great performances starting with Gary Oldman’s George Smiley, but also extending to Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, and Benedict Cumberbatch (possibly the most British name I’ve ever heard.
I really like getting an insight into the way MI-6 worked during the cold war era, and how the people involved lived their lives. We get some great stuff through Tom Hardy’s story as a field agent on the job, and a great scene as Cumberbatch is trying to smuggle files from the MI6 library.
I ended up liking this movie quite a bit. Yes its dry, but like a fine wine it improves over time.