Title: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Language: English, Russian, Hungarian, French
Country: UK, France, Germany
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Director: Tomas Alfredson
John le Carré
Music: Alberto Iglesias
Cinematography: Hoyte Van Hoytema
Saw this one in cinema eventually several days ago, as usual, I am totally ignorant to the eponymous worldwide bestseller novel or the BBC TV mini-series in 1979 starring Sir Alec Guinness. And my instant response when the ending-credits rolls is that it is too intricate for a feature film and with sustained jumping back and forth of the actual narrative, a first viewing could barely serve as an introduction.
The grainy texture of the film is retro and unassuming, like its protagonist George Smiley, and a lengthy running time with tepid fixation to the minimal details are tiring, foolhardily devoid of any suspenseful theatrical stunt (the scene of file-theft in the Circus library could merely be qualified for the aim); sundry gory scenes of death are infelicitously irrelevant with the film’s avowed self-effacing tone, anyway, the film is too hard-bitten for my digestion system in a way grating my patience and diminishing my interest.
Nevertheless the film has bountiful merits to demonstrate that it has its offbeat appeal, particularly towards its cold-war spy genre buffs, a pervasive austere gray-blue palette could not be more emblematic for the back story and director Tomas Alfredson’s (whose debut LET THE RIGHT ONE IN 2008 is an insuperable milestone for any budding directors) knack for manufacturing a stylized cine-atmosphere is unswerving, a love-it-or-hate-it aftermath is predestined.
The acting is practical but underwhelmed, Gary Oldman is acclaimed merely because it is against his stereotyped flare-up spitfire, and due to an appalling shame he had never been nominated before this film, at any rate it is not a new fuss, just an unspoken consensus all the players comply. So I do sincerely wish this will not be Mr. Oldman’s career peak as we all know he could do way better! Among a male-studded supporting cast, Mark Strong is remarkably excellent against that almost everyone character is in somewhat underdeveloped ellipsis (save for Smiley), also a thumb-up for Kathy Burke, who magically generates the one and only chuckling.
I admire the effort, but the platitude is that not all masterpieces could be made into films, so a mixed feeling of unsatisfied still hovers.