"It's the oldest question of all, George. Who can spy on the spies?"
Another one of those award films thrust upon us this winter. This one though is somewhat of a different story. A British espionage story, 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy', that is set in the bleak days of the Cold War, about an espionage veteran, George Smiley, who is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6.
The plot is one of the most complex and intricate plots I have come across during the last couple of years in the British cinema. The film was made into a TV Series back in 1979 with the likes of British thespian Alec Guinness. This is a film adaptation from the world acclaimed novel of John Le Carre, and it is one of the most fascinating espionage thrillers to have been made into film during the last decade.
The superb acting line-up includes an all British thespian cast: award nominated Gary Oldman (Dracula), Award Winner Colin Firth (The King's Speech), Tom Hardy (Inception), Mark Strong (Body of Lies), Toby Jones (Infamous), Ciaran Hinds (Rome), Benedict Cumberbatch (Warhorse) and the always astounding and award nominated John Hurt (The Elephant Man). So as you can see a sea of actors parading through the screen for 2hrs and 7mins.
The brilliance of the film though, lies in the unravelling direction of Tomas Alfredson. It is one of those films that it starts of a bit slow but guides you and sucks you in the plot so smoothly you do not even realize where and what hit you by the end of it.
The story is told in a non-linear narration, hence there's a lot of back and forth, thus forcing you to stay glued on the screen. Details are extremely important, so that you can put the pieces of the puzzle together with the protagonist.
This film pays homage to the good old days of British cinema, the voyeuristic era of the long lenses shooting approach, almost giving you the feeling of a 1970s italian film. The set and costume design did an astounding job in transferring you back in 1973, and the dark and gloomy atmosphere of London was very distinctive and apparent.
It truly felt whilst watching this that I was grasped by a mighty force of story-telling, thus making me unable to lose focus in the film (something that happens to me more often than not when I watch films nowadays) and not only was I intrigued intellectually but was also faced with the issue of how different and yet similar the world is today since 1973.
Excellent performances, witty dialogue, carefully woven plot, eerie musical score and an even more visionary directorial attempt on espionage drama by Tomas Alfredson. Go rent it, watch it, if you're lucky enough to catch it in your local cinema that would be superb, pay attention to it, and most importantly enjoy the raw British cinematic excellence.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)