If it's crap ... We'll tell you
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY is one of the best films of the year so far, and could easily get a nod at the Oscars in February. With an interesting plot, brilliant performances and great production values, it stands as the best spy thriller of the year.
The basic plot is this: George Smiley (GARY OLDMAN) is a former spy who is brought in to try and find a mole inside British Intelligence. His deceased boss Control (JOHN HURT) believes it is one of 5 people: Percy Alleline (TOBY JONES), Bill Haydon (COLIN FIRTH), Roy Bland (CIARAN HINDS), Toby Esterhase (DAVID DENCIK) and Smiley. With the assistance of Peter Guillam (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH) and Ricki Tarr (TOM HARDY), Smiley goes through all details to find the mole. I never read the book nor seen the TV miniseries (which starred the late great ALEC GUINNESS) so I am unaware of any changes to the plot. The plot is very complicated, so this is a film where you really have to pay attention or you'll be completely lost. My main problem with the movie is the pacing: it can be glacial at times and the 2 hour runtime can feel much longer at times.
But its the performances that make this movie a must-see. GARY OLDMAN is fantastic as Smiley and easily deserves an Oscar nod. Smiley is character who talks little but his body language creates much more character depth than any expository dialogue could. Also brilliant is MARK STRONG as Jim Prideaux, a former agent now in hiding after a botched mission and easily the most sympathetic character of the film. COLIN FIRTH, TOM HARDY and JOHN HURT also deserve much praise for their acting.
The film is set in the 1970's and it immidiately obvious from the design of the clothes, architecture and overall look of the film. Saying that, the film doesn't try to beat you over the head with the fact its the 70s by playing the music of the time or making constant reference to other events; it simply tells you its the 70s and moves on with the plot.
Overall, TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY is a film you must see as soon as you can if you really like spy thrillers. The film can drag at times, but the great performances make up for much of the pacing.
FINAL VERDICT: FULL PRICE!