Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Directed by Tomas Alfredson
On general release from 16th September 2011

Reviewed by John Owen

Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and John Hurt lead a host of British actors in an ensemble piece that explores the heart of the British Intelligence Services, total paranoia regarding the Cold War Anti-Communist era and the search for the inevitable mole at the centre of MI5. Spooks versus spooks.

Set in a murky almost mondo grime house mode of dark shadows, endless cigarette smoke and hard drinking – some hardcore serious grimacing. You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a documentary of some kind. It had a feel of the old Alec Guinness series, a flavour of the 70s for those of you too young to remember it. This was the Blue Velvet – David lynch though was more lucid – of its day, with more questions than answers, riddles within enigmas, within a conspiracy and then a twist of deliberate lies.

But back to the film which is less of a history job and more a mogadon action movie, although the scene where Smiley (Gary Oldman) does a Harry Worth impression in the window was a good touch. Sorry folks it was the only redeeming feature of the piece, the acting master class we’re promised on the leaflet. It consisted of arch dialogue, mumbling with inconsequential action and rapid rushing to get nowhere fast. If this in anyway depicts the life of real spies then no wonder Burgess and Maclean defected to the Soviet Union; they knew how to live and party hard.

But to lift it up to the heights it’s been hyped by the media, it was a thoroughly absorbing tale that took me out of myself and transported me back to the old days. Those glorious times when everyone sat round the telly, waiting, then when a shilling could be found to switch on the lekky we watched these mega-dramas. Spoon-fed in democratic Western civilisation, gullibly transfixed to colour TV and were fed, uncritically, propaganda about the nasty commies. In these tales of the totalitarian governments, bequeathed by Stalin to the world, oh how lucky we were to have been born free. If only we didn’t have to hide when the TV licence van came calling, we’d have seen more of it rather than hiding the TV in the radiogram.

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Sorry Comments Closed

Comment left by Dazza on 23rd September, 2011 at 22:20
Great review. really enjoyed reading it. Thats waht reviews should be about.