Movie Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

So after months of waiting for a mass release, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (which I will refer to as TTSS for the rest of the post) finally made it’s way to my neck of the woods. After reading up on it for a while, I found out that it was a deep, slow moving spy movie with twist after twist. I saw the cast, which includes respected actors Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Tom Hardy, and was even more intrigued to see TTSS. Read on to see what my thoughts on this critically acclaimed film were.

The story focuses on retired MI6 operative George Smiley, played impressively and stoically by veteran actor Gary Oldman. Oldman puts in one of the best performances of his career and does so in a very difficult and deep role. Smiley is brought out of retirement in order to find a mole in the highest level of the MI6. The infiltrator is a Soviet, and seeing as the film takes place in the heart of the Cold War, the British Government thinks this is a pretty big deal that needs to be taken care of. In Smiley’s heyday he was the go-to guy for everything espionage related, so the British had no choice but to bring him out of retirement to sort things out.

On top of a tip they received from a rogue agent, there was also a mission in Hungary that went awry which caused the British Government to believe they had a mole in their organization. Smiley had to do his best to not stick out amongst his peers, his peers whom he was following and studying, trying to determine if they were in fact the Soviet mole. The other members of “the circus” (which was the group of officials at the top of MI6) were all under the microscope and nobody was ruled out as the mole until the end of the movie. Smiley tirelessly and passionately tries to get to the bottom of this and leaves no stone unturned.

I won’t speak any more into the plot of the movie, because you really need to just see it to really understand it…and honestly after seeing it myself, there are still parts that I don’t fully understand. It was an old school spy film, a type of film you don’t really see very often any more. It was cool to see a type of film that isn’t really around much these days, the days of over the top action and CGI fascination (not that I don’t like tons of movies like that). In regards to the acting, there is not one area in which I can complain. Hardy, Strong, Oldman and Firth were all incredible in their roles. This could end up being a huge year for Hardy and what a way to start it with TTSS.

This is not to say that TTSS was a flawless movie, because believe me, it wasn’t. It was the type of movie that crawls along for good portions of it, and at 2 hours and 8 minutes, you really need to pay attention for every second. It got hard to focus at times because it was jumping back and forth from past to present and present to past and character to character with no real rhyme or reason. This made it extremely hard to follow, but if you really buckle down and devote yourself to focusing on this movie for the full length, you will definitely get your enjoyment out of it once the end credits start rolling and it all falls into place. I enjoyed it, but after just one viewing I still have questions that I need answered. After another viewing my vote may change but for now I will give it a rating based on the fact that I enjoyed the film, but am still a bit lost on certain plot points.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: 7/10

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About PhilMMCritics

3 pals (Phil S., Rob M., Mark M.) who all find irrational amounts of enjoyment from everything related to the movies. Hell, we even love the Fathom Events trailers. Come to our site for assortments of movie posts, podcasts and our original series “Drive Home Reviews”.

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

  1. I just recently saw this as well and it’s definitely a movie you need to pay attention to. My mother went to the bathroom and was completely lost for a good 45 minutes. It’s very slow and jumpy but the acting was fantastic!

  2. With so much information being thrown at us, I wish that there was much more time for all of it to just sink in but I liked the fact that the film made you pay attention to every little detail as this story just kept building and building. Everybody here in this cast is great too, especially Oldman who perfectly brings this flick together. Good review.

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