Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Review - 3 Stars

Gary Oldman stars as John LeClarre’s George Smiley, recalled by the British secret service to investigate a mole—that is, a double agent—in the home office. The story unfolds slowly in a dense hard to follow manner. The plot doesn’t care about the actual secrets bought and sold but rather about the institution and the men who work for it and in one case against it. “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” goes long on atmosphere and short on explanations. Gary Oldman makes a great George Smiley. A fine cast includes Colin Firth (last year’s Oscar winner for “The King’s Speech”), Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, and Ciaran Hinds. Some will remember Alec Guinness in the PBS series of this work. But that series lasted for seven or eight hour episodes. I think this boiled down movie version captures the essence. Does it deliver what it promises? Spy mystery at the home office. Is it entertaining? Hard to follow but long on atmosphere. Is it worth the price of admission? For fans of the books.