zondag 5 januari 2014

100 Movie Challenge 2014 - # 7: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Director: Tomas Alfredson
Genre: Drama/ Thriller/ Mystery
Runtime: 127 minutes
Year: 2011
Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Tom Hardy, Toby Jones, Stephen Graham, Ciarán Hinds

Description: In the early 1970s during the Cold War, the head of British Intelligence, Control (John Hurt), resigns after an operation in Budapest, Hungary goes badly wrong. It transpires that Control believed one of four senior figures in the service was in fact a Russian agent - a mole - and the Hungary operation was an attempt to identify which of them it was. Smiley (Gary Oldman) had been forced into retirement by the departure of Control, but is asked by a senior government figure to investigate a story told to him by a rogue agent, Ricky Tarr (Tom Hardy), that there was a mole. Smiley considers that the failure of the Hungary operation and the continuing success of Operation Witchcraft (an apparent source of significant Soviet intelligence) confirms this, and takes up the task of finding him.

Review: John le Carré is without a doubt one of the masters of spy thrillers. The author of this story once worked for the MI6, so he knows how things work around there. His writing style criticizes the successful stories of James Bond. His characters are a bit less heroic, but because of their weaknesses they are more human. Take for instance George Smiley, the main character of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”. Smiley is a modest, middle-aged man, who wouldn’t reach for a gun but purely trusts on intelligence. He sounds dull when you compare him to James Bond, but George Smiley is a very intriguing figure. Especially when you let Gary Oldman portray him.
The writers stayed very true to the novel. John Hurt plays Control, the boss of MI6, who sends agent Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) on a secret mission to Budapest. He has to persuade a Hungarian general. It appears there is a spy in MI6, who hands out crucial information to Karla, the biggest spy in Russia. The general knows who it is, but Prideaux never lives to tell the tale. George Smiley, who’s just retired, has to find the mole.
It sounds like an average whodunit scenario, but there is more to it than meets the eye. The atmosphere and the characters are so interesting. The way director Alfredson filmed it, with the raw glow and different shades of brown, makes you feel like you are in the seventies. And there is a tension throughout the entire runtime of the film.
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” proves that you don’t need an actionhero to make a good spy thriller. This is a breathtaking movie.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

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