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Film review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy


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In this age of crash, bang, wallop cinema a slow-burning character-led tale of suspense and intrigue is a welcome breath of fresh air.

Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyFeaturing a stellar cast, a veritable ‘who’s who’ of great British actors Gary Oldman, Kathy Burke, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, and Mark Strong there is not a weak performance in the bunch.

Pinning the whole thing together is Gary Oldman putting in an astonishing turn as George Smiley who is tasked to uncover a mole in ‘the circus’ (a municipal MI6 bunker in run-down 70s London). There is a Soviet “deep-penetration agent” right at the very top of the circus, and all the top-brass are suspects throughout.

Taking the helm is Let The Right One In director Tomas Alfredson who doesn’t over-burden the brilliantly complex narrative with unnecessary visual trickery allowing the story to breath and surprise with each wonderfully timed reveal.

Unlike much modern cinema silence acts as a main player throughout, creating a level of tension and suspense that is palpable, and draws you to the tense, emotionally heightened world of espionage.

This is cinematic story-telling at its best.

If fault can be picked with the film it is in the fact that many eagle-eyed viewers can easily pick the correct culprit very early on in the film. But his is a minor hindrance as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is not about the destination but the journey, as the clues and evidence unfolds it is simply a joy to behold.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a coup for British cinema. Stylish and sophisticated it is a top contender for film of the year.

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