Film: Tinker Tailor refreshingly smart

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January 20th, 2012

Omaha, NE – A classic spy novel gets a brand new big-screen retelling. From the Movieha podcast, Ryan Syrek and Matt Lockwood have this review of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

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Ryan: Although our mental pavlovian response to the phrase British spies conjures up images of tuxedos and martinis that are never stirred, the spies in director Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of John LeCarre’s novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, look a little different.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy stars Gary Oldman in an award-winning performance.

Matt: A little different? They look like the original hair club for men members back when it was just a sad support group. They look like the pudgy accountants that other accountants make fun of. They look like the least formidable bowling team in history.

Ryan: Okay, I think we get the idea. Set in the Cold War, the film takes a much more subdued look at espionage, which doesn’t mean the stakes aren’t high.

Matt: George Smiley, played by a clearly heavily sedated Gary Oldman, is tasked with discovering if there’s a Russian double agent inside the British inner circle. Ever-so-slowly, he slowly begins slowly peeling back secret after secret, before the truth is slowly exposed. Did I mention it was slow?

Ryan: It is indeed, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. With a staggering cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Thomas Hardy, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, John Hurt and many more, the film is overwhelmingly smart. But the best part is, it assumes that its audience is too.

Matt: Without ever stopping to recap or oversimplify things, the movie assumes viewers are willing to do a little work of their own, choosing to infer and imply where most mainstream flicks scream and yell.

Ryan: There’s no car chases or explosions to speak of. In fact, the most tense scene involves a question of whether or not a briefcase will be opened. And it feels so refreshing to be engrossed in entertainment like this.

Matt: Although the climax could have used a little more pizazz, as they had earned that right by that point in the film, it was overall satisfying.

Ryan: It’s no wonder why it got 11 BAFTA nominations.

Matt: What’s a BAFTA?

Ryan: They’re like the British Oscars, only not quite as relevant.

Matt: Awards that are less relevant than the Oscars? You just blew my mind.

Ryan: And if you want a chance to use yours, check out Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy when you get the chance.

The Movieha podcast is produced in partnership with The Reader.

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