Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Writer: Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan
Based on: John le Carré‘s novel
Cast: Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Ciarán Hinds
Control (John Hurt), head of the British Intelligence, suspects that there is a double agent very high up the ladder in “the Circus.” So he sends Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) to Hungary to meet a source who can reveal the identity of the mole. But things go wrong, Prideaux gets shot and Control and his right hand George Smiley (Gary Oldman) have to retire. But then the agent Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy) also brings the info about a double agent and Smiley gets hauled out of retirement to find said agent.
I was so looking forward to this film. I mean – look at that cast! What more could you wish for? [Except for a few women.] Unfortunately the movie ended up being so incredibly boring, I don’t even have words. Also, the brown, the brown! It kinda started hurting my eyes after a while.
The cast was spectacular. I mean nothing less was to be expected of them, but really, they were so good it should have been entertaining enough to make the film worthwile. But somehow it wasn’t.
I blame two things for that: the one is Tomas Alfredson’s direction which just really, really sucked. Apart from the pacing, that was off, what the hell was it with the weird talking to empy chairs? Why did he refuse to show the faces of any of the few women who actually made an appearance (unless you had to see that the face was battered so that our heroes would be properly motivated)? Seriously, for a movie that already has practically zero women to begin with, to refuse to show their faces is even worse. [I would have been even more offended if they didn’t do the same thing to Tom Hardy – I only ever saw his face enough to recognize him (especially with that haircut) in about the fifth scene he was in.] And it’s not like these are characters where it’s important that they aren’t revealed. Like Karla. But then again, since the entire movie is like that, it doesn’t even work with Karla either.
The other thing that just wasn’t up to par was the way the plot unfolded. You got the feeling that Smiley knew all along who the mole was (and I was pretty sure that I knew all along who the mole was) and why would he work so hard if he knew anyway? Also, there were a few things where I thought: “oh, this is probably explained in the book. Too bad I didn’t read it.” How something can be so baffling and so unsurprising at the same time is a bit of a feat. [Seriously, even Benedict Cumberbatch’s tie – the only bit of color in the entire film – actually reveals something that could have been otherwise surprising.]
I’m just really appalled that a cast this good got wasted so much. They deserved a better film to shine in.
Though the film has one hilarious highlight: when Smiley says to Esterhase, “He found you starving in a museum in Vienna, a wanted man.” I almost broke down giggling. Because Viennese museums are obviously full of starving people who fill the holes in their bellies with art instead of food. Or something.