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The Cold War of the mid-20th Century continues to damage international relations. Britain's Secret Intelligence Service is striving to keep pace with other countries' espionage efforts and to keep the U.K. secure.
Thriller - This adaptation of the famous novel is a spy thriller, but it's a slow, talky drama and not an action film. This is a big showcase for Gary Oldman, and other known stars in the cast such as Colin Firth and John Hurt have much smaller roles. Language, violence, and sex make the film inappropriate for kids.
Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Good Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy will likely play well to art house audiences, who exhibit a greater willingness to embrace films that demand patience and concentration. It will provide a satisfying reminder that movies need not be action packed to be thrilling and that it's better for a screenplay to err on the side of being too complex than too dumb.
USA TodayFull Review Good Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a superbly rendered take on the world of low-key, bespectacled agents who refer to their line of work as "the circus." Director Alfredson impeccably captures the Cold War era, the milieu of the international espionage game and the repercussions of betrayal.
NY PostFull Review Very Good The adaptation of John le Carré's chilly Cold War spy classic is indeed gripping, in the manner of a chess match that requires concentration to play but even more to derive pleasure from observing. He (Oldman) is as cold and intense as a freezer burn. Thanks to his mastery, and (director) Alfredson's, no film this year left me hungrier for a sequel.
Note: The rating
above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.
The time is 1973. The Cold War of the mid-20th Century continues to damage
Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), a.k.a. MI6 and code-named the
Circus, is striving to keep
pace with other countries' espionage efforts and to keep the U.K. secure. The
head of the Circus,
known as Control (John Hurt), personally sends dedicated operative Jim Prideaux
(Mark Strong) into
Hungary. But Jim's mission goes bloodily awry, and Control is forced out of the
Circus - as is his
top lieutenant, George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a career spy with razor-sharp
Estranged from his absent wife Ann, Smiley is soon called in to see
undersecretary Oliver Lacon
(Simon McBurney); he is to be rehired in secret at the government's behest, as
there is a gnawing fear
that the Circus has long been compromised by a double agent, or mole, working
for the Soviets and
jeopardizing England. Supported by younger agent Peter Guillam (Benedict
parses Circus activities past and present. In trying to track and identify the
mole, Smiley is haunted by
his decades-earlier interaction with the shadowy Russian spy master Karla.
The mole's trail remains cold until maverick field agent Ricki Tarr (Tom
contacts Lacon. While undercover in Turkey, Ricki has fallen for a betrayed
married woman, Irina
(Svetlana Khodchenkova), who claims to possess crucial intelligence. Separately,
Smiley learns that
Control narrowed down the list of mole suspects to five men. They are the
ambitious Percy Alleline
(Toby Jones), whom he had code-named Tinker; suavely confident Bill Haydon
(Colin Firth), dubbed
Tailor; stalwart Roy Bland (Ciarán Hinds), called Soldier; officious Toby
Esterhase (David Dencik),
dubbed Poor Man; and - Smiley himself.