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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)

At the height of the Cold War, only a master spy could be trusted to expose one of their own.

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 127 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

For those who are tired of the Middle East and want a bit of Seventies Cold War nostalgia, look no further than Tinker, Tailor, Soldier,  Spy, an old school espionage thriller based on John le Carré’s best-selling novel.

In the early 1970s during the Cold War a botched operation in Budapest results in the resignation of the Head of British Intelligence, Control (Hurt). Control suspected that there was a mole within the highest eschelons of the Intelligence service and recently retired George Smiley (Oldman) takes over his investigation pinpointing a likely group of four. During this time, an AWOL Secret Agent, Alan Tarr (Hardy), resurfaces and starts pointing figures himself.

The cinematography is wonderful as lots of different angles, close ups and silent long shots are used in just the right places to ratchett up the tension perfectly. The attention to detail is incrdible and the Seventies setting really comes off looking like, well, the Seventies. However, there’s only so long you can marvel at authentic looking Trebor mint packets and awful cars before you need some excitement and engaging plot. It all boils down to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy being a little dull. For example, I don’t think there has ever been a film where the lead character has visited the opticians in the first ten minutes. The conspiracy plot is not really engaging and we are given no reason to care for or hate pretty paperthin characters. There are also odd plot digressions that take away from story, like a fat Harry Potter who gets befriended by the disturbing Jim Prideaux (Strong).

I have been informed though that this is actually the perfect film for those girls out there who have little old man fetishes. Apparently, there are lots of them.

It's Got: Crisp, beautiful cinematography, some good understated performances, lots of Seventies detail

It Needs: A clearer storyline for those who havent read the book, more interesting plot, the characters to be fleshed out more


If you want to see lovely attention to detail and a wonderfully grim portrayal of the Seventies then go see this. But for entertainment and an intriuiging plot you should probably stay away.