• James Rutherford

'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy': An Electrifying Cold War Spy Thriller from the Mind of John le Carré


Movie poster for the British film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy starring Gary Oldman and Colin Firth

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (2011) is a thrilling and elaborate Cold War-era espionage thriller starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley, a retired British intelligence operative brought in out of retirement to ferret out a Russian agent embedded within the British intelligence Service (aka "The Circus").

Ongoing suspicion within The Circus that a high-level spy for the Kremlin exists among its ranks is further spurred by claims from a former British agent-in-hiding, Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy), that a complicated assignment has lead him to clues supporting their darkest concerns. Upon assignment, Smiley is quickly entangled in a byzantine web of an investigation that leads to the identification of five key suspects from among its ranks, nicknamed internally as the "Tinker" (Toby Jones), the "Tailor" (Colin Firth), the "Soldier" (Ciarán Hinds), the "Poorman" (David Dencik) and the "Beggarman" (Smiley himself).

Based on the novel by John le Carré (the third to feature Smiley), "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" is a dense and absorbing return to the darkest days of The Cold War, given a major shot in the arm by director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In). His stylized treatment of the material gives the challenging plotline an invigorating and intoxicating appeal, as the narrative winds it's way through numerous twists and turns before revealing an altogether unexpected and emotionally resonant finale. A challenging and rewarding cinematic experience not to be missed.

 

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