Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – January 6, 2012
Starring: Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, John Hurt, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy
Written by: Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
The plot: “In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6’s echelons.” – IMDB
My thoughts: With words like “war” and “MI6” and “espionage”, I was hoping to get some insane acts of violence. But then I took a second and thought about the words “Cold War” and “veteran” and “semi-retirement” and realized that TTSS would definitely not be a classy Jason Statham movie. Instead it did a lot of character and plot developing and spent plenty of time creating quite a little spiderweb of character relationships and secrets.
An important thing is that it’s hard to go wrong with such a star-studded cast. And yes, I do feel inclined to complain about the complete lack of females in TTSS, but at the same time (and I’m not historyologist, so feel free to correct me – only don’t be a dick about it), women didn’t play the largest role in the war as it was the 40s and 50s and most women were at home doing “women’s stuff”. Anyway, back to the cast; come now. Who can deny the brilliance that is Gary Oldman who plays the main character, George Smiley, and manages to somehow be a bitter asshole while still trying to do the right thing and seek justice.
I have a real tendency to get…turned around during political thriller/drama because they’re always throwing around jargon and using “spy” names and it all gets very confusing (it also doesn’t help that there are some time jumps that are always kind of hard to figure out.) But, as someone replied to my sentiment, if it was all easy to follow, then war and political espionage would be too simple and everyone would know everything. Which is true. Either way, after rewinding a bit and pausing on certain points, everything clicked and the plot made sense.
The biggest drawback is that it was quite long and quite boring. Despite having an interesting plot going on, it was presented in such a slow, anticlimactic fashion that I couldn’t figure out if I could stay awake to finish it. It was very moody and quiet and everyone spent a lot of time adjusting their hats and giving each other the stink eye. Very dramatic and all that.
For the amount of hype that this movie has been getting for what feels like the last five years of my life, I’m a bit disappointed. I expected to be on the edge of my seat and be surprised at the ending with a big twist ending or an exciting finale. Didn’t really happen. This is the epitome of a movie where I’ll just shrug my shoulders and say, “Eh, it was okay,” and leave it at that.