Sunday, January 08, 2012

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Finally, it only took, four weeks before this movie went wide enough to hit my local theatre here in East Brunswick. Focus Features started their platform release on the 9th of December and slowly rolled it out to the rest of the country. Given the fact that it's a throwback to the old spy films like the Ipcress File (1965) and Funeral in Berlin (1966), where there is more character, nuance and story rather than action it's a sad fact that American audiences would probably try to avoid it. Which unfortunately seems to be the case as it has only made about 6 million up to this point. So I'm going to say this very carefully, if you are thinking this is going to be some kind of Bourne Identity or James Bond kind of film you are going to be disappointed. There are no slam bang action scenes this isn't a high-octane plot thriller. This is a methodical exploration of British intelligence during the Cold War regarding a deep and devastating Molehunt, and trust me it's Badass in it's own way.
Based on the popular book and series by author John Le Carre. In the dark days of the Cold War, George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is forced from semi-retirement to investigate a possible leak within British Intelligence. As he digs deeper he discovers a mole that has possibly been there for years providing sensitive information to the KGB whom the agency calls Karla. He chooses his team of investigators carefully taking only trusted advisors and an inside company man. The first is a retired but loyal agent named Mendel (Roger Lloyd-Pack). His inside man is Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), who has the unfortunate task of having to run interference and sneak out sensitive files for Smiley to build his case. Smiley focuses his attention on his old boss and mentor, Control (John Hurt), who along with Smiley was forced out of the service because of Control's obsession with a possible mole in the office, they call the Circus. For Control it had to be one of four people, all section chief's that run the Circus, he gave them all special codenames. The first is the ringleader of the incoming group and the new head of the Circus, Percy Alleline aka Tinker (Toby Jones). The second is the suave class clown Bill Haydon aka Tailor (Colin Firth). The third is the tough Cold Warrior Roy Bland aka Soldier (Ciaran Hinds). The last is Smiley himself, Spy. There is of course a wild card a rogue agent who claims to have a bead on the possible mole, field agent Ricky Tarr (Tom Hardy), but can he be trusted
I know this was a really long explanation but it's necessary especially if you are planning to see it. It's good to know all the players going in cause this movie weaves a tapestry of characters and plot that if you aren't careful you could get a little lost. As I stated above if you have the attention span of a 13 year old then this really isn't the movie for you. There are so many things in every scene that build the story to it's ultimate conclusion that even I had trouble catching them all. This was truly a fantastic film with great performances and some excellent twists and turns that kept me guessing till the end. Gary Oldman, as always, was awesome, you aren't sure what to make of Smiley when you first meet him but as the film builds you can see the wheels turning in his mind without him saying a word, his regrets, the human side to a man who is almost machine like in what he does. It seems like he doesn't emote much or react to almost anything at the same time his mannerisms seem to react to everything. It's really quite an incredible thing to watch. I hope that Gary Oldman gets a nod for the role and even though the box office has been light it truly deserves to have a nomination for Best Picture. It was certainly one of my favorites this year hands down.
Grade: 5 Buckets

1 comment:

Captain Mike said...

Just came out of this one. Couldn't follow it worth a damn. Only Tom Hardy and Mark Strong livened things up, and even then it wasn't enough. It was nice to see Gary Oldman playing someone sinister again, though. He's gotten so PG-13 in recent years.

Confusing snoozefest for Captain Mike.