Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
By Bob Rutzel
(Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch)
Not Very Entertaining
In the 1970s, George Smiley (Gary Oldman) comes out of retirement to find the mole in MI-5 British Intelligence Service (also known as The Circus), who is upsetting covert operations. Sound easy enough?
The hype over this story was staggering. It is said that the story, as presented, is an adult (read “intellectual”) version of the Ian Flemming and Robert Ludlum spy stories. That sure sounds like Zzzzzzzzz time to me. I just had the feeling I would be looking at frozen facial expressions for long periods of time. (The more frozen expressions, the more professional critics call it artistic, intelligent, and thought provoking. Keep in mind, these critics only talk amongst themselves, in a language only they understand.)
So, here’s the thing if you want to enjoy this movie: The mole is someone in the inner circle of The Circus. That is all you really need to know. Everything else is a distraction. Hey, I didn’t give anything away. Knowing where the mole is still doesn’t help, as we know absolutely nothing about these people. Nothing. So, how are we to know about clues when it comes to them? If there was some sort of character development for these people we might have had a chance. Is the mole Tinker, or Tailor or Soldier? Ok, so now you know where the title of this comes from. Does that help? No. In the last 20 minutes, Smiley puts names to Tinker, Tailor and Soldier. Does that help? No.
For most of us, the most recognizable person within The Circus is Colin Firth as Bill Haydon. Is he the mole? (I honestly hoped he would say at some point: “You know, I used to be king .” – little joke here.) Perhaps the book told more about the people who made up The Circus, but it didn’t happen here. And, yes, a little humor would have gone a long way to a better entertainment rating. Didn’t happen.
This was not entertaining. This was tedious, and we kept hoping Smiley would key in on someone to get this over with. The problem was, we couldn’t read Smiley even a little. How do you read a frozen face? And, it wasn’t just him. There were frozen or poker faces all around. And, yes, I was correct. I spent most of this movie watching frozen facial expressions. Not good. (5/10)
Violence: Yes. Sex: Yes, but this is viewed via binoculars into another building complex. You see nothing. Nudity: Yes, a man getting out of bed. Language: Yes. (Not many F-bombs. Mostly soft stuff.)
Bob Rutzel lives in Lovettsville and enjoys doing movie reviews, from an entertainment perspective, for busy friends who don’t have time to watch movies, but need to know what movies are suitable for their children.