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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Nail-Biting Spy Film

  • Benedict CumberbatchCiarán Hinds...
  • DramaMystery & Suspense
  • Out now
  • Tomas Alfredson
reviewed by
Yasmin Shehab
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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Nail-Biting Spy Film

Set in 1973 England during the Cold War, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy tells the story the hunt for a mole at
the top of British Intelligence’s food chain, who happens to be feeding the
Russians top secret English information. The mole is one of four people;
Esterhase (Dencik), Haydon (Firth), Bland (Hinds) and Alleline (Jones). Smiley
(Oldman), aided by Guillam (Cumberbatch), is brought out of retirement to
investigate some seemingly disconnected events and discover the mole’s
identity.

The cast, which is made up of pretty much every famous British male
actor, is an absolute knockout. This is one of those films where you can’t
single out one person as a standout, though Oldman, Cumberbatch and Hardy, who
is almost unrecognizable with a full head of very thick hair, were particularly
impressive. The latter in particular, in a change from his usual introverted
bad boy persona, plays the most emotional man of the bunch and is,
unsurprisingly, the one spy who wants to leave this world behind him. He plays
Tarr, the agent who discovered the existence of a mole while on assignment in
Istanbul, and he is absolutely heartbreaking.

The film is intense, but in a very cool, detached way; perfect for a spy
film actually. The film is all about power struggles and huge egos getting in
the way of patriotism and morals. There are no big action set-pieces or epic
shootouts, but the blame keeps shifting around between the top four suspects
and a bunch of other agents, that, until the very end, there’s no way of
knowing who to trust.

This isn’t a cut and dry case of one guilty party
surrounded by innocent people; it’s more of an
everybody’s-guilty-to-varying-degrees situation where one person scores higher
than the others on the traitor scale. Not even Smiley is above suspicion and
Oldman’s quiet, aloof demeanour and penetrating stare keep you on your toes,
making him seem both trustworthy yet slippery. 

This is a fantastic spy film through and through, enhanced by the
film’s styling and muted, beige and brown palette. They perfectly match the
film’s icy on the outside, heartbreaking on the inside vibe.

Like This? Try

Zodiac, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, The Conversation

360 Tip

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was nominated for three Oscars; best actor for Gary Oldman, best original score and best adapted screenplay.

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