Monday, 6 February 2012

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Tomas Alfredson, UK 2011

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is an excellent spy-thriller. That is, if you're into spy-thrillers ...

Jokes aside, it is an outstanding film no doubt - dense, excellently paced, to say nothing of the actors who are all at the top of their game, without exception - but truth be told: as far as I'm concerned Tinker, Tailor falls under that category of films which don't do much for me, yet their brilliance is nevertheless obvious, even to me, and I can see why they are a cut above the rest (of similar such spy-thrillers).

If you are into spy-thrillers - unlike myself - then you may love this film, but be warned: it is the opposite of what you'd expect from your average, run-of-the-mill James Bond movie. That Alfredson has stripped the genre of all the glitz, the pretty girls, the ritzy locations and the gallons of dry martinis which have falsely sugar-coated the genre of the spy-thriller ever since Bond, James Bond first stepped out of his Aston Martin with a Chanel-clad Ursula Andres by his side, surely is part of Tinker, Tailor's brilliance. Alfredson's spies are a tired-looking, lonely, bunch of middle-aged, droopy shouldered, men wearing badly cut suits in various shades of grey and that murky, 1970s, brown. The only pretty girl in sight is an indeed stunningly pretty Russian spy who gets violently killed halfway into the film.

It seems obvious that Aldredson has given Martin Ritt's equally brilliant but equally elliptical, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold a good look for its mood, theme, and general atmosphere, are very reminiscent of Tinker, Tailor, and I don't think that's just because both are based on novels by John le Carre.

Having not seen the 1979 television version of Tinker, Tailor, I have no idea how the two compare. However, I do know that it probably helps if you've seen it - if only to make the plot-line and the goings-on that much clearer. I'm aware that like in most spy-thrillers, the viewer has to just accept some of the unfolding events as a fact. No questions asked. Trying to question or get to the bottom of this, that or the other element in the plot is bound to get you nowhere. At least, I didn't. I tried.

Nevertheless, that I did try, tells you that I liked the movie well enough to care.