Movie Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Posted: December 19, 2011 in movie reviews, movies
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy

Premise: During the Cold War, retired spy, George Smiley is recruited by the MI-16 (the British CIA basically) to find a possible double agent within the agency.

For a movie hailed an “international spy thriller” I expected to be, well thrilled. But it was slow, and methodical, and frankly a lot of telling and little showing.

I’m a big fan of flashbacks. J.J. Abram’s LOST, solidified that fact for me. However, flashbacks in this case weren’t used well. They were incomplete, and left me confused. Then they were followed by more talk about things that didn’t make sense. The story kept jumping back and forth it was just a little hard to follow. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I just didn’t get it. But I expected more action, I expected George Smiley to be bad ass, but he just kind of sat there building on tension that never climaxed.

The story was meant to be given to us in pieces. We were learning things at the same pace as Smiley was, giving no more or no less information. Whatever information Smiley had on the situation we had as well. While this allows us to figure out who the traitor is along with Smiley, it also hinders us from learning anything more about the characters. I found myself not really caring about anyone.

The directing in cinematography were great, but most of the time I felt like the director, Tomas Alfredson, was showing us one cool trick, then using that same trick over and over again. There was a shot in the movie that I thought was completely amazing. It was a story told in 4 different rooms but with one single, wide shot through another man’s window. It was electrifying and powerful, UNTIL Alfredson used that same tactic over and over again: Smiley looking outside a window, Smiley looking inside a window, Smiley walking by a window that we see into. Enough already, show us something new.

That being said the acting was great, as everyone promised it would be. Though I’m used to seeing Oldman in a more active role, his performance was quiet and powerful. He is a pro and was on top of his game in this movie. However, if the movie doesn’t hold up, then the acting doesn’t matter.

Overall, despite great acting and a complex story, I was left wanting more. It was hard to follow, sloppy choppy plot and left me not really caring about anyone or anything. There can be slow methodical storytelling – not everything has to be action – but  the audience has to care about what’s going on. Period.


 Rating: 2 Stars

Random Thoughts:

I am fascinated by Tom Hardy’s lips. They were so weird looking in this movie!

The wigs/hair styles in this movie were awful!




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