Premise: A slew of the finest British actors working today are all secret agents trying to figure out who has been working as a double agent for years amongst their head agents. Yeah! Secret agents rule!
-All the acting and dialogue are top notch for the most part.
-Once the full scope of the plot is laid out, the story is pretty freakin complex in an awesome way.
-The pacing is both good and bad at times, but for the most part, it goes by at the correct pace.
-It’s very confusing.
-I think they expect too much out of the audience. By that I mean they do little to successfully explain a lot of things along the way. It’s probably too smart for its own good.
-Like a bad TV series in its 8th season; way too many characters.
Final Thoughts: I was able to stay entertained during Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but at the same time, I didn’t always understand what the hell was going on. It felt like sometimes they were speaking in spy codes, and unapologetically never explaining what any of that just meant. The fact that I was entertained during this confusion-fest is probably a good testament to the film’s overall appeal. It is a good spy vs spy kind of thing, but not in an action-packed kind of way like Mission Impossible or something (that’s not a jab at Mission Impossible, which I liked better than Tinker Tailor). But the fact that I had to look up a few basic plot points on Wikipedia when I got home from the movie, just to confirm what I thought happened is actually what happened, isn’t the best sign of super coherent storytelling.
I got to rent this over the weekend. It seems to take hours before Smiley gets his first line of dialog, and he has precious few lines thruout the film... and you appreciate that this is part of the character-building; that Smiley knows when to shut up and listen to others, and not give himself away.
The wife and I didn't like how we had to chase the dialog with the remote volume control all during the film, so as to hear it all clearly, maybe we're too old. There were sections where we weren't quite sure what the deal was, but I felt that was the whole point; to identify with the characters who are also in the dark. That said, the Big Reveal is done in the same mousy, quiet way and it sort of sneaks by you and suddenly, you're saying: "Wait, that's IT? It's over?" It's not a very bombastic and hammy reveal which is I think what American audiences expect from spy movies, but you know, I think it's more authentic.
Gary Oldman I felt was really channeling Sir Alec, and he did a great job.