Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
84th Academy Awards 2012
Nominated for 3 awards.
Nominated for Best Actor (Gary Oldman), Best Original Score (Alberto Iglesias), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan).
Watched January 12, 2013.
All of the reviews I have read about this film make me love Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but watching the film myself, I was seriously unimpressed with the majority of it. I have not read the book and I have not watched the 1979 BBC mini series and therefore have never encountered this Cold War story of British Intelligence before. Perhaps if I had I would be more of a fan, but as it stands, I saw a lot of great actors in a film that I struggled all 128 minutes to connect with.
Perhaps if the version I had watched had better sound I would have found it more easy to follow. Once I had a slight grasp of the film’s plot, I spent the rest of the running time trying to catch up. I am a huge fan of films that stretch your mind and make you think. A predictable plot can be entertaining, but a true plot twist that comes out of left field is something I greatly admire. Tinker Tailor, on the other hand, was so quiet, and slow, and difficult to understand that I was unable to admire any of the genius that earned its nominations and instead wished I was doing anything but watching this particular movie.
Once I realized that the film was about a mole within MI6, and Gary Oldman who plays a man named George Smiley is rehired out of “retirement” (he was fired) to discover who it is, it was much more easy to follow. Knowing this, however, did not make the rest of the viewing go by with ease. There is a lot of secrecy and a few instances where Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) has to sneak into MI6 that are supposed to be suspenseful. I didn’t know it was about the Cold War and I certainly didn’t know it was supposed to be placed in 1970 until Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy) showed up with his long hair. These things could have been mentioned at one point or another in the film, but clearly I missed them. In fact, the best bits of the film were with Ricki, who is Tinker Tailor’s version of James Bond, without all of the fancy cars and sex.
All in all, I am a great fan of Gary Oldman and can’t believe it took the Academy this long to recognize him with a nomination. Perhaps one day, if I see a better version of the film I will have more admiration for it, but as it stands, I would not recommend it. If you generally disagree with my advice, however, it might be a good one for you to watch, and afterwards tell me why I am wrong.