I’d say Tinker Tailor yadda yadda suffered from what I like to call the Black Swan phenomenon where by the studio puts so much into advertising the film just to get everyone in and doesn’t really let them in on the real gist of the film because if they knew that they probably wouldn’t go and see it anyway. With Black Swan people were promised a ballet film with Natile Portman, who wouldn’t love that , Natile Portman’s hot so that’s the blokes sorted and her indoors can look at the pretty girls dancing while what they really got was a mind fuck of a movie from the genius mind of Darren Aronofsky.
Ditto with Tinker, a spy movie, deadly sure James Bond was a spy I like him, oh and look Mr Darcy’s in it too, remember him from The King’s Speech last year remember how much you liked that sure you’ll love this! When what you get in reality is a two hour cloak and dagger ponderous film where you can’t trust anybody not even yourself, oh and the main character, George Smiley played by Gary Oldman doesn’t say anything for the first twenty minutes.
Having said all that i really enjoyed Tinker, it’s gentle methodical pace slowly letting us in on what’s really going on in the Circus and who could be the double agent. I didn’t find it nearly as confusing as the original tv series with Obi-Wan but not having read the book I can’t compare it and no doubt purists will be un happy but Tomas Alfredson (Let the right one in) delivers an accomplished piece of espionage that doesn’t spoon feed you and assumes you have the patience and intelligence to keep up.
The stand out roles for me where John Hurt, Oldman and Mark Stong. I could watch John Hurt reading from the phonebook for hours and he is excellently cast as Control, shouting, questioning and smoking till the bitter end. It’s nice to see Oldman being quiet and reserved instead of roaring and raging his way across the screen but Strong really stood out. He plays Jim Prideaux, enlisted by Control to investigate the double agent but when things go wrong Smiley must be called in to give his expertise. All the roles are understated and must be in a world where nobody is who they seem, nothing can be reveled as to do so would mean discovery or death so the smallest glance or holding of gazes for too long speaks volumes. Strong is the master of this and I hope a few nominations are thrown his way come award seasons.
As the countless posters and trailers recall ad nauseum the film is packed full of talent, we have Firth, Tom Hardy and the always excellent Toby Jones and Ciarán Hinds but with so many characters it’s hard to give them all depth and a proper showing so maybe you should read the book that you no doubt will get for Christmas.