Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Blu-ray
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Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Produced in 2011
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
Contemporary Drama • Contemporary Political Film • Contemporary Thrillers • Contemporary Mystery Film • Contemporary Spy & Espionage Films • Contemporary British Film • Contemporary Blu-rays • Contemporary British Film • British Film Blu-rays
This triumphant remake of le Carré's cold war tale sees Gary Oldman as Smiley leading an exemplary cast. Elegant cinematic solutions to complexity make this a must-see, says Milo Wakelin.
There can be few drama series more revered than John Irvin’s 1979 BBC adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and few actors more beloved than Alec Guinness, who delivered a career-crowning performance as the mild-mannered spy, George Smiley. To remake the former and recast the latter could have been a betrayal to make even Burgess and Maclean blush.
Director Tomas Alfredson will know the feeling all too well - an American remake of his brilliantly original vampire drama Let The Right One In (2008) was announced before production had finished. As it turned out, Let Me In (2010) was a rare example of a remake that worked, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, which has already won rave reviews and numerous nominations, is a triumphant example of another.
Casting helps, and the ensemble includes established heavyweights such as John Hurt, Colin Firth, Ciarán Hinds and Toby Jones, talented newcomers Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy, and a rare, delightful appearance from Kathy Burke. Overseeing them all is Gary Oldman, crueler and more reptilian than Guinness’s sphynx-like portrayal of a spy who is called out of retirement to hunt down a traitor inside the British Secret Service.
The BBC series coincided with the public exposure of Anthony Blunt, giving Le Carré’s Cold War intrigue added pertinence. This adaptation has the feel of period piece, a costume drama, even, in which every detail of late 70s Britain is meticulously recreated (Maria Djurkovic’s outstanding production design was recently recognised at the British Independent Film Awards).
In recent years, filmmakers have catered to fans of Tolkien, Rowling and whoever’s responsible for the Twilight books by pedantically plodding through each and every plot point. So it’s a relief that Alfredson and screenwriters Peter Straughan and Bridget O'Connor have found elegantly cinematic shortcuts around Le Carré’s material. Here, Prideaux's desperate forest escapade is replaced by a Hitchcockian sequence set in a Czech café; Ricky Tarr's surveillance of a Russian agent and his wife evokes Rear Window, and the mole's fate is played out, ingeniously, in a poignant close-up. The result is a taught, engaging thriller that still retains the distinctive slow-burning tension of the original.
Milo Wakelin on 8th December 2011
Author of 103 reviews
A brilliant new adaptation of John le Carré's cold war novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In). Featuring a top-notch cast - Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, John Hurt and especially Gary Oldman, who does the almost unthinkable by creating an interpretation of George Smiley to stand alongside Alec Guinness's, the 1970s period design and the ingenious way the expansive story is condensed into 2 hours, make this one of the best British films of the year.
There is a mole in MI6. When British agent Ricki Tarr discovers, courtesy of an affair, that there may be a Russian agent operating at a high level in MI6, it is clear that an investigation into the issue will be a delicate matter. Enter the retired spymaster George Smiley and his associate Peter Gulliam (Benedict Cumberbatch). The pair are assigned the task of tracking down the agent, but must do so under the radar of the MI6 leadership, for the very reason that they are all under suspicion.
For those who don't know the story already, this is a fine introduction. If you are familiar with the 1979 BBC mini-series however, the pleasure is doubled, as comparison with the earlier version's characterisations gives an added layer of pleasure.
Length: 127 mins
Cat No: OPTBD2435
Format: Blu-ray Colour
- Interviews: John le CarrÃ©, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Tomas Alfredson (Director), Peter Straughan (Screenwriter)
- Commentaries: Gary Oldman, Tomas Alfredson (Director)
- Documentaries: 'Smiley', 'Inside the Circus', 'Shadow World'
- UK Premiere.
by Barry Forshaw on 9th January 2012
Tomas Alfredson (director of Let The Right One In) has created an understated, measured adaptation of John Le Carré's classic espionage thriller, enshrining Gary Oldma... Read on
Tomas Alfredson (director of Let The Right One In) has created an understated, measured adaptation of John Le Carré's classic espionage thriller, enshrining Gary Oldman in a career-defining performance as spymaster George Smiley, given the task of uncovering a mole at the heart of MI6 ("The Circus") during of the Cold War. Oldman is supported by a matchless ensemble cast (including Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt and Mark Strong). Most signally, Oldman makes us even (at times) forget Alec Guinness' definitive performance as the ageing spy. Hide
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