Wednesday, June 21, 2017

1033. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Directed by Tomas Alfredson

I apologize for taking so long to post.  This has been a very stressful period in my life (I would call this the understatement of the year but I am saving that for "Trump is a bad president").  Anyway, I am going through a bit of a John Le Carre phase right now (currently reading Smiley's People) and thought I would check this movie out, which I have been meaning to see for awhile now.

George Smiley has been called out of retirement (are spies ever really retired??) to investigate a possible mole within MI6.  Wow, that might be my most succinct summary yet!

Having just reviewed The Bourne Ultimatum, it is interesting to compare these two films.  Both spy movies, but they are very different.  I bet I could guess which one most of my readers prefer.   This movie is devoid of explosions and car chases.  In fact, it mostly consists of waiting: waiting for someone to speak, to slip up, to reveal some part of themselves.  In that way, it felt very authentic to me; surely, this is the true spy experience, rather than just having sex with mysterious Russian beauties (oh wait, they still do that in this movie).

Stylistically, this is a beautiful film with brilliant actors.  Still, I couldn't blame people for finding it a bit on the dull side; it is a slow movie.  However, I had fun with it and I am loving on Le Carre lately.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Title is taken from an English children's rhyme.

The search for the right actor to play George Smiley took 18 months.


  1. I've dabbled a bit in Le Carre recently too. Read The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, then Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, then watched the TV series of the latter. It's highly regarded here in the UK as one of the finest things the BBC ever made.

    Enjoyed watching it, but at 7 x 1hr episodes it was very slow by modern standards. Also, it seemed like it would have been very confusing if I hadn't just finished reading the book a week earlier. But that's hard to judge really and it can't have been so lauded if it made no sense to people.

    I've got Smiley's People on the shelf waiting and the BBC made that with the same actors, so will get through them at some point. Book first, of course.

    1. Let me know what you think of Smiley's People. And I wouldn't be so sure of that. Look at James Joyce's Ulysses!

    2. I tried to read Ulysses once. Spent a month going at it hard, but only completed a single chapter. Gave up.

  2. See my other comment I made earlier today as to what makes a film dull / boring, and lo and behold, another example.. Again, purely for myself, I was much more bored by 'Bourne' than this, which had me gripped all the way through.
    Amanda / Dessie. I'm afraid I've not read any Le Carre, and Dessie - well done, I don't think I got beyond the first page.

  3. I saw this at the cinema when it came out so I'm a bit hazy on it but I remember being really disappointed. It really takes a lot for a film to bore me and I couldn't believe this one did considering the plot, and considering I did enjoy the book. I just couldn't get into it at all and I found it all to be a bit of a snoozefest. I have had the BBC TV series on DVD for years but haven't got round to watching it yet...

  4. This aspect of personality might not be obvious here, but I am kind of obsessive about finishing things. So I did finish Ulysses but it was torture. And Ashley I can totally understand finding this dull.