Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

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.

4 Responses to “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

  1. I still have yet to see this one. I look forward to comparing notes once I do.

  2. It was hard for most people to get into this film, mainly because American audiences are so used to the obtrusive pandering of Hollywood and the James Bond/spy genre.

    I was huge supporter when TINKER TAILOR came out, and am looking forward to seeing it again.

    Glad you appreciated at least some elements of it.

  3. “it was hard for me to get into this film” I feel the same way and I went in wanting so much to LOVE this film. The draw for me was the cast, but yet I just didn’t find it as engaging the first time around, not sure if it’s because I sat behind this woman with a huge hair so I had to weave left and right to see what’s happening on screen. In any case, there are a lot to appreciate but overall it didn’t wow me.

  4. Its slower than most conventional spy movies, but it was never marketed as a James Bondesque film anyways. It was certainly dry, but in this case that wasn’t a bad thing.

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