Film: Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Stars: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Ciarán Hinds, Kathy Burke, Benedict Cumberbatch
In the early 1970s during the Cold War, the head of British Intelligence, Control, resigns after an operation in Budapest, Hungary goes badly wrong. It transpires that Control believed one of four senior figures in the service was in fact a Russian agent – a mole – and the Hungary operation was an attempt to identify which of them it was. Smiley had been forced into retirement by the departure of Control, but is asked by a senior government figure to investigate a story told to him by a rogue agent, Ricky Tarr, that there was a mole. Smiley considers that the failure of the Hungary operation and the continuing success of Operation Witchcraft (an apparent source of significant Soviet intelligence) confirms this, and takes up the task of finding him. Through the efforts of Peter Guillam, Smiley obtains information that eventually leads him to Jim Prideaux, the agent at the heart of the Hungary fiasco. He is then able to put together the pieces of the puzzle, which lead him to the identity of the mole and the true intent of Operation Witchcraft.
What I thought of it:
I don’t know if it was just that I was very tired, but I found this adaptation of John Le Carre’s famous cold war spy novel incredibly confusing. There’s absolutely no doubt that the cast is superb and they all gave phenomenal perfomances, but the plot seemed ot be all over the place with little coherance. I do, however, plan to watch the old TV series and read the book in the hope that I’ll have that “Aha!” moment where everything clicks into place and I ralise I dozed off during some crucial plot revelation that would have made the whole thing make some kind of sense. As it was, come the end of the film, my immediate thought was, “This is how thick people must feel when they watch CSI,” because I’m so used to being one step ahead with this kind of thing. Perhaps if I watch it again when I am not half asleep, I’ll get more out of it.
I can see there being a few Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominations for performances for this ensemble cast, but it will miss out on the bigger prizes like Best Film and Best Director.
My hubby’s review HERE.