Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy reviewed by The Prince
This has to be one of the hardest reviews I've had to write.
If you were to ask me what the acting was like in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, I would tell you it's brilliant. If you were to ask what the writing was like, I would tell you it's fantastic. If you were to ask me what the directing was like, I would tell you that it also, is very, very good.
But if you were to ask what Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was like, I would give you something along the lines of "yeah, it's good".
How does that work? How can the ingredients be top shelf, but the whole thing just be so...meh?
The legendary Gary Oldman plays George Smiley, a recently retired MI6 spy called back into action by "Control", leader of the super secret, five man group "The Circus". Control is convinced there is a Russian mole within The Circus and it could be anyone of the other four men. He tasks Smiley with finding which of the four men, whom he gives the code names "Tinker", "Tailor", "Soldier" and "Poor Man", is the double agent.
If this were James Bond, he'd have shot, interrogated and slept his way to the truth. But this is no action fantasy, tho sometimes you might wish it was. It is a dark, gloomy, very real look at the covert world of the 70's. The "code names" I mentioned earlier are just some of the fun. There's also the very subtle and secret way the players move around and talk to each other. It's classic spy stuff.
It's all fun, but doesn't give much long life to the movie.
I guess my biggest problem is that in no way did I ever feel any sense of dread, or fear. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy certainly didn't need some sudden revelation of the mole's secret agenda to detonate a nuclear bomb in the middle of London or something, but I should've felt some sort of threat by him being there in the first place.
I didn't. And I almost feel guilty for it. A lot of other reviews are calling this one of the best movies of recent years. Veteran critic David Stratton labelled it "a perfect film". I honestly felt like I'd watched it wrong or something.
So I went back. But I came out feeling the same way. And that's a shame. Each of the actors in the enormous ensemble are among my favorites: Oldman, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong. Even Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock Holmes in one of my favorite TV shows, is there. But I just couldn't get into it.
Like I said, that's a shame, because what I did like about it was very, very good.