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Showing 1-10 of 14 reviews(4 star). See all 54 reviews
TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 9, 2012
The acting is impeccable. Gary Oldman completely disappears into the
role of Smiley; the voice, the walk, the tempo are all a unique
creation, a man who's strength comes from quiet, from watching, from
thinking, not from action. Rarely have we ever seen a movie hero this
passive. But this man is very actively passive. He may not move
physically, but his mind is racing like a computer. And Oldman is
surrounded by a top flight cast; Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt,
Ciaran Hinds, Benedict Cumberpatch, etc.

The film is very well shot, delicately creating a dour world of beige
and brown mazes.

But in distilling a story this complex down to two hours, something got
a little lost for me. Smiley has to figure out who the mole in the
British secret service is. But with this much plot, and this little
time, we don't really get to know the suspects. So we watch and are
(intentionally) confused, and then answers start to emerge, and it's
all never less than interesting. But somehow it never crosses over into
the emotional or unshakably memorable either.

I loved Alfredson's 'Let the Right One In' for it's uncanny combination
of atmosphere, creepiness, intelligence and heart. For me, 'Tinker,
Tailor..." has the first three, but lacks the last. Some of that is the
nature of LaCarre's work. But somehow I remember more moments, and more
feeling from the now 30+ year old TV adaptation, even though it didn't come
close to this new version's rich sense of style. But by not having to rush
through a story this dense, there was room to really feel and experience it,
instead of just working to keep up with it.

But all that said, this is a refreshingly smart, adult, well-made and
challenging film in a world with far too few.
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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy comes to us with an impressive pedigree. Director Tomas Alfredson previously directed a critically, and publicly acclaimed vampire movie Let the Right One In, a foreign language movie, now remade as Let Me In starring Chloe Moretz. If you don't mind subtitles I highly recommend it, and the remake which is also very good.

Colin Firth won the Oscar last year. Gary Oldman, got nominated for an Oscar for this role. Mark Strong gave a great performance in The Guard, and Ciaran Hinds excels in playing spies, as in The Debt, and Munich.

If you're like me you have neither read the book, nor seen the series starring Alec Guinness, so my experience of watching it fresh might be a good indicator.

I probably would not have seen it if I did not accidentally meet someone in the movie business, who had seen Gary Oldman and the director do a presentation at their campus.

When asked how he would like playing a stoic character, as opposed to his often passionate characters, he said he had waited thirty years to play a role like this, that often actors don't get to pick and choose their parts, but take what is offered and to put food on the table, and hope one day...

As the movie begins, we become aware of a 'mole' at the circus, and an agent played by Mark Strong is sent to Hungary for a secret meeting to discover who it is. When complications arise retired agent, the stoic George Smiley played by Gary Oldman is brought out of unscheduled retirement to find the mole, the spy who despises his fellow spies. It's like a game of chess, with chess symbolism, where we read between the lines both of unfurling events, and Smiley's furrowed brows to gauge the churning depths that stoic masks.

He has a wife we never see, who cheats on him, and we anticipate a break in that stoic exterior, so as a study of character acting by Oldman this is a wonder to behold. In a way this movie sets out to be deliberately dull, somewhat the antithesis of the impression you get from a Bond movie, these men are bureaucrats, they ironically sing the Russian national anthem at office parties, not much seems to happen, they're not particularly interesting or handsome, with one or two exceptions, then the action livens up with an intrigue, betrayal and occasional murder.

When the finger of suspicion points different ways, the 'circus' people suspected get very nervous, knowing full well what the outcome of that suspicion will be.

As I sat very close to the screen, close enough to see the dots, I noticed the rather grainy footage like the detail of movies set in that era, the 70s. While I enjoyed it overall, this is definitely a more cerebral movie than say Bond, in fact it reminded me somewhat of The Good Shepherd, a movie I love, starring Matt Damon but which has gained mixed reviews. I think they were expecting The Bourne identity, instead of backroom antics at the CIA, the other circus.

Several people around me left the movie early on, did not give it a chance, a yuppie sitting next to me, clearly on an early date, started immediately checking his iphone for other movie showings, was annoying, and thankfully they left shortly after to see a different movie. So this is not perhaps a date movie.

I would say that I did not understand everything, some detail was lost I think in reducing this to a two hour movie. For instance, he gets a lighter from Magda,which seems important, who I assume was a woman but apparently was not. From an acting viewpoint, everybody gives a strong perofrmance, from a directing viewpoint, if you're like me you probably want more action, then it would not be what it is.

I am now curious to check out the original with Alec Guinness. I think fans of Gary Oldman and/or Le Carre's original story will love it, and a varied response among other people. The movie also got nominated for an Oscar for best adapted screenplay.

I hope this was helpful.
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on May 23, 2017
good movie
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on January 22, 2015
The way this movie was edited an cut was All over the dam place, Tom Hardy” had more
to say than Colin Firth” Benedict Cumberbatch” was just walking around with not much to
say as well, how could you not use these people to there fullest potential, first off the movie
was too short, you need way more time for a movie like, the one with Alec Guinness” is 324 Min.
but I know that can’t be done for a theater movie, another half-hour of some intrigue would be nice
the only one that shine here is Gary Oldman” an Mark Strong” was good as well, I’ve seen some
better ones done by the British, that has way more drama an intrigue than this, even if he had added
some of his own pieces to it I wouldn’t of cared to much, just a touch of his own spy world would be good,
it is not all that bad, you know like the umbrella with the blade attach, in the back street of the night
where all businesses go unnoticed,
Runtime 128 Min.
Widescreen 2.35:1 1080p High Definition,
English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.
I’ll Still Give Four Stars.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 20, 2013
During the cold war it looks like that is a mole in MI-6. Control (John Hurt) and George Smiley (Gary Oldman) retire after a botched mission. Just because Smiley retired does not mean it is not him. Yet he gets the task of coming back unofficially to find the mole. We go through a multifaceted search. And of course it is supposed to be the last person you suspect.

Actually I do not remember that much detail of the series. But I enjoyed watching it. I assumed this version would have to cut a lot out and might leave you guessing at how they got from one scene to the next. I was wrong. Every word and look had meaning. There are a tad too many flashbacks but time constraints probably force that. For a minute I thought of "Murder on the Orient Express" where there were too many clues. I have to confess I have not read the book so I cannot dissect the differences.
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on January 23, 2013
No James Bond glamour or special effects here. This is a movie with a feel of reality. Gritty, well acted and well directed. Oldman deserves the praise he has received but he is not the only actor turning in a top notch performance. Could be "Masterpiece Theatre".
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 10, 2012
Though I generally do not like Cold-War movies, this one was certainly an exception.
Not having read the book, I was curious to know why this is considered a classic - and now I know.

Beyond a fascinating and intricate storyline, the acting really brought the viewer directly into the era.
This is not a film for the viewer seeking the high-explosives adrenaline rush ... rather it is for the viewer seeking a very intelligent, complex storyline that keeps you guessing through to the end (unless you read the book - of course).

Great movie. Exceptional Story. Superb acting by the entire cast.
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on August 12, 2016
Traditional English spy story reminiscent of Burgess and Maclean. Ruthless people with confused ethics and loyalties. Keeps you guessing about their motives, but you know they will be either dead or disillusioned in the end. Nobody was actually hanged for treason which they would have been in days of old. Good story, clever dialogue and very entertaining. Sticks closely to the book.
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on November 25, 2012
Gary Oldman never ceases to amaze me - this is a great little movie with little gimmicks. I loved it. Takes you back to the times when movies were movies before all these CGI heavy blockbusters. Loved Benedict Cumberbatch - saw him for the first time in something other than Sherlock and I thought he was excellent. Highly recommend this movie.
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on July 13, 2014
Gary Oldman shines as as a brilliant cold-war spy hunting a mole. Excellent supporting cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch and Colin Firth.
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