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Motoko Discusses The New Adaptation Of TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY!!

Published at: Sept. 23, 2011, 1:17 p.m. CST by merrick

 

Merrick here...

 

AICN reader Motoko got a look at TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY...

...a new adaptation of John Le Carre's progenitor novel from director Tomas Alfredson (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN).  

He was kind enough to send us his perspective on the new picture...

 

 
You haven't had many peeps about the new version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy so I thought I'd send in a review having seen it last night.
 
The short version: it's a well made, well acted and well intentioned adaptation of Le Carre's seminal spy novel but falls short of the 70's BBC adaptation starring Alec Guinness.
 
The long version: this feels like a missed opportunity frankly. TTSS is beloved as a novel, TV Mini-series and radio series but this version is unlikely to be so revered. It's not for want of trying mind you. The production team and the cast work their socks off to tell the tale of a mole hunt at the upper echelons of the British secret service carried out by the forcibly retired number 2 George Smiley (which is a much plot as I'm going to give away). 70's Britain is recreated in all it's horrid brown and grey glory and the dingy hotels, greasy cafe's and damp safehouses Smiley and his team spend their time in leave you in no doubt that this is the anti-James Bond. This is the espionage world stripped of any trace of glamour. A world ruled by bureaucratic little men in suits reading endless reports looking for small glimmers of weakness that can be exploited for morally dubious victories. Now if that doesn't sound appealing I assure you it's presented beautifully. The lighting, camerawork and production design of this film are spell binding. Director Thomas Alfredson shoots much of the film like a surveillance unit, obscured by shrubs, long lenses and only just getting his performers in shot. The surface of every frame feels distorted or blurred as if reality is out of shot. All we see are the lies being told.
 
The cast slip into this world beautifully. Gary Oldman will finally be nominated for an Oscar and could very well go and win it. His George Smiley is a quiet, perhaps meek man, but his shoulders are heavy with dirty secrets and the unscrupulous ways they've been used in the name of democracy. Oldman never glamourises the role but he's still utterly mesmerising. Every turn of the head or flicker of the eyes is loaded with meaning. In his orbit is a veritable cosmos of brit talent from old hands like John Hurt to established stars like Colin Firth and Mark Strong and then to rising stars Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch provides Oldman with his best support as trusted aide Peter Guillam, a man put into difficult circumstances by Smiley's search. Hardy is also in fine form as the agent who initially uncovers the plot and finds himself a hunted man on both sides of the dirty war. The rest of the cast are admirable even when their characters are often reduced to paper-thin descriptions (more on this later).
 
But for all that hard work there's actually very little reward for the viewer. It should be crazily exciting. But it isn't. The film never seems to pick up and take you anywhere, it just sort of plays out in front of you. As a result, a lot of the drama is drained away. The scale and danger of what's happening never seems to come across. We're talking about a soviet double agent right at the very heart of the british intelligence community. But Smiley takes dips in a swimming pool and does crosswords in his local pub. Where's the urgency? The schism between the old guard of Smiley and his superior and the new cabal formed by their ambitious lieutenants feels empty somehow, as if they could never have been a threat. The exact meaning of the Tinker, Tailor codenames are hidden for most of the film so the exact nature of what's going on is a bit muddled. And whilst the greater enemy of Karla, the soviet spymaster, remains faceless (as perhaps it should) it also stays pretty much toothless due it being really confusing who he is and why he's so important. 
 
Secondary characters like Kathy Burke's sacked researcher or Stephen Graham's ex-agent are reduced to narrative expedients, which is forgivable given the amount of info that has to be relayed but an act bordering of criminal when the films main suspects are reduced down to the-one-played-by-Toby-Jones, the-one-played-by-Colin-Firth, the-one-played by-Ciaran-Hinds and the-one-played-by-nobody-I-recognise. They're just faces. Their roles in the Circus are a mystery beyond their being important. What's the Circus? Welcome to how this film deals out it's information. It's said in passing. Never fully explained and mentioned only in half sentences or scribbled notes you never quite get to read. Now you could argue that it's refreshing to have a grown up film that's made for people to pay attention to it's subtleties and nuances. And indeed it is, but all the subtlety and nuance in the world is no good if you don't have a solid foundation to work off of, and TTSS doesn't really have one.
 
It's a shame because all the pieces are there and they're put together very well but they don't as if they've been put together correctly. Boiling down the dense layers of Le Carre's text to two hours was always going to be difficult and everyone is doing their absolute damnedest, I just can't help feeling that a better job could have been done in some places by pulling away the veil and be a little more direct. Don't get me wrong, this film does not need a car chase, shoot out or villainous monologue. But a bit more clarity up front and the rest of the film would have been so much more effective. I am going to watch it again to try and reassess it on it's own merits rather than comparing it to the mini-series, but for me the force is still with Mr. Guinness.
 
 
That's one helluva cast.  
 
The film is now playing in the UK, and should hit the U.S. in early December.  
 
 

Readers Talkback

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  • Sept. 23, 2011, 1:22 p.m. CST

    P.S. It is a great movie, my fav' of the year so far.

    by Arkhaminmate001

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 1:31 p.m. CST

    No, it's not me.

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    In case you're wondering. GIVE ME BACK MY NAME!!!

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 1:40 p.m. CST

    It's Fudgepack Friday!

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    Today's contestant: Dame Helen Mirren! So ... does The Queen allow commoners and their Brian Cox in her backdoor?

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 1:41 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Empire gave it five stars and called it utterly absorbing. No disrespect to Motoko but he seems a little hung up on the mini-series and book, maybe took too much baggage into the screening with him?

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 2:08 p.m. CST

    It's a fantastic movie...

    by huskerdu2

    ...and it absolutely works as a piece of cinema. It's very subtle, doesn't clonk you over the head, but it's a film that you absolutely want and need to see all over again. So many good little touches in it. Oldman's great, but Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch are just as good.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Here's my take on TTSS again - each to their own I guess

    by melonman

    I wanted to get some thoughts on this down before they become polluted by re-examination, and to serve as a warning to others who may be confused or disappointed by one of the best films of the year. This isn’t about the technical aspects of the movie, which are exemplary across the board; everything from performances, costume and art direction through to cinematography, editing and sound design perfectly capture the era and world of Le Carre’s Circus. There are even some great songs thrown in (especially in a scarily evocative office party from hell that is repeatedly flashbacked to). But Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is not a spy thriller. Don’t believe the hype, or be suckered in by plot descriptions, or ideas of genre. Instead, it is a character study of men who are tied to their jobs. That may seem an odd statement, but it best describes the mood, tone and pacing of a movie that may have half it’s audience walk away shaking their heads. It opens with a montage of office minutiae behind the credits, depicting the drab chic of 70s Britain, and settling on Oldman’s George Smiley. He is a man so dull he takes a freezing outdoor morning swim with his glasses on, which serves as a neat visual encapsulation of his character. Alfredson is very good at telling details like these that hint at deeper traits without spelling anything out too overtly. An early suspense filled meeting outside an Eastern European café would have Hitchcock chuckling. Odd shots build up, showing a cascade of glances form passersby and slightly out of kilter behaviour that set alarm bells ringing in Mark Strong’s head that things are about to go tits up. A waiter dripping sweat as he serves the coffee, a woman peering from an upstairs window and looking away. Again, it is an almost purely visual sequence, showing a thought process that may be cunning prescience or basic paranoia, before his instincts are proved right. And when the by now expected happens, the plot shifts into gear. Or rather, it doesn’t. This is where half the audience could be lost, not from lack of intelligence, but from misguided expectation. Scenes drift, flitting backwards and forwards in time, like memories from a mind solving a mystery. That mind is Smiley’s, the dullest of The Circus’ officers, and also the greatest. A man who, like all the characters to varying degrees, has sold his soul to his profession. They are all men beaten down by their roles, trapped in a career for life, bowing down to the whims of their respective masters. Their lives are ruined in various ways, simply because they are asked to ruin them. A man may be asked to disappear and change his identity, forsake his lover, commit adultery, steal without reward, or retire at the click of another’s fingers. Their only pride comes in the satisfaction that they follow orders without hesitation or question. Their lives are placed solely and willingly in the hands of others. The movie shifts up a gear with Tom Hardy’s entry. His flashbacked encounter with the true love he hopes to save gives the movie it’s heart and soul. Such idealistic romanticism brings into focus what the other characters are lacking. The true denoument to this subplot occurs at the halfway point, in a truly shocking moment. It is the fact that none of the characters recognize the tragedy (although unsure if this aspect could have been cut in adaptation), which makes the actual ending all the more heartbreaking. Hardy tells Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch, as Smiley’s right hand man Peter Guillam, that he doesn’t want to be like them. He wants a life outside The Circus, to be free and happy, and by that stage we know he has no chance of either. Nobody’s life is their own. Hardy is visibly scared of Oldman when they first meet on screen, and is also slapped around by Cumberbatch (the fact that this is totally convincing is a testament to acting skill if ever there was one). Cumberbatch silently follows Oldman’s orders unswervingly, without any hint that he would ever consider any other course, and is himself reduced to a timid schoolboy by Toby Jones’ Alleline. David Dencik’s Esterhase becomes a blubbering beggar in a face-off with Smiley. The mole, when he is revealed, is little more than an office boy to his Russian master, the unseen Karla (whom Smiley, when asked to describe him, can’t even remember what he looks like). It’s an acting masterclass, probably the best ensemble for years, with whole lives told through minor glances, rather than acres of exposition. Everyone is bullied by someone else, superior, peer, or underdog on the rise, and their acceptance of this situation is the true sadness of their lives. At least Bourne or Bond fight. These guys just shrug their shoulders and slog through the cold to their fates. So, the film works best not so much as a spy thriller, but as a treatise on the types of men who become spies, the men who sacrifice their own lives to watch other people living theirs.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Melonman...

    by huskerdu2

    ...you nailed it. It's a film about loss, the death of idealism and the passing of time. Much like The Constant Gardener.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Has there been any talk of a sequel?

    by Standfast

    Have there been any comments from the cast or production people on planning The Honourable Schoolboy? Seems like major alterations to the story would be required due to changes made in this film.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 2:42 p.m. CST

    Totally deserving of those five stars.

    by davidwebb

    Everyone here – really, everyone - is perfectly cast. Oldman is brilliant as the pensive and undemonstrative Smiley, as is Benedict Cumberbatch as his assistant, Guillam. Production-wise, the cinematography is incredible and the attention to detail is on par with Mad Men - Wimpy, anyone? They really make seventies London beautiful to look at, in all its wintry glory. As I am sure everyone else will point out, this is the anti-Bond. The lack of car chases and shootouts are actually a relief. Spying, here, is a mundane occupation - not a glamourous globe-trotting lifestyle. Perhaps some details could have been better explained, but when you consider the BBC adaptation was some six hours long, this was bound to happen. One more thing I can’t help but note that they could have been a bit bolder with the film’s score – it’s good, and like the rest of the film, it is largely restrained and serves the film’s atmosphere. There are no big brassy themes or overtures here. If this were made thirty years ago, I would have hoped Bernard Hermann or John Barry might score this. It'd be nice to see them adapt more of LeCarre's books to this standard. 5/5.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Very tough review by Peter Hitchens

    by Standfast

    Gary Oldman just has heavy glasses. And also he wastes great portions of valuable time swimming in Hampstead Ponds, something the Chelsea-dwelling, bookish, unathletic Smiley would never have dreamed of doing. Why? You might as well show him doing Pilates.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 3:06 p.m. CST

    post was cut off

    by Standfast

    The review is in the Daily Mail online. That was just one quote among many. Maybe he was just having a very bad day. Hope so.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 3:13 p.m. CST

    No offence standfast but any reference to the DM should be burnt with fire!

    by Big_Bubbaloola

    And the ashes swept up, compacted into a neat roll, eaten by a small rodent, pooped out, swept up and burnt with fire again!<p><p>As for the film ---- many, beautiful levels of awesome, if not for the plot, at least for the acting.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 3:26 p.m. CST

    None taken, Bubbaloola

    by Standfast

    It was a tough piece of reading though. The Times (London) piece is just as bad. Still hoping but optimism is fading a bit. Also for anyone in NY- just read Spy Who Came In from the Cold and Looking Glass War (films) will be shown at Lincoln Square next week.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Melonman nails it

    by Sulis

    That's the film I saw a few days ago. I can't wait for the extended cut, as it would be a joy to see a bit more of some of the scenes - the Russian national anthem at the Christmas party, Kathy Burke (Connie) in Oxford, especially, as it is her memories that are crucial to the untangling of the layers of deception...

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 3:39 p.m. CST

    Le Carre double feature

    by Standfast

    It'll be at Lincoln Center on Tues. Not Lincoln Square. 6:00 and 8:00 separate admission tickets.

  • Is it any good?

  • So many real critics seem sold on the thriller aspect of the movie, and I just don't think that's what Alfredson was aiming for in the long run.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Melonman, Sorry not really sure

    by Standfast

    I seem to remember bits but not enough to really comment. The boiled down story of Control basically destroying a rival British agency definitely seems very interesting to me now.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Melonman or Spader, any extra stuff in Tinker?

    by Standfast

    Does the movie have any added pieces not in the mini series? Maybe something like Smiley being recruited at Oxford or flashbacks of that sort.

  • Alfredson seems to have condensed a lot of ideas and exposition from the book into simple visual riffs. No Oxford stuff - the background detail really is just that, with odd references in the corner of the frame etc But everything and everybody felt real, with a sense of history - it's just that nothing is spelt out.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 4:45 p.m. CST

    standfast

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    Peter Hitchens is a cantankerous ogre who doesn't like much of anything. He's so unpleasant he makes his brother look like a happy-go-lucky preacher.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 5:15 p.m. CST

    I thought TTSS was superb

    by david starling

    This review reads like that future father-in-law reading out the constant put-downs to Tom Hank's character in Batchelor party. Yes, it was difficult to put the movie into two hours, but a feat that was well achieved. I didn't expect 'crazily exciting' at all, I expected a seeping, horrible, cloying atmosphere that chokes and frustrates, with its seemingly invisible turns, and I got it. What the fuck did the reviewer expect? Jason fucking Bourne? Maybe I wasn't supposed to enjoy it, but I did. I did expect something of the book and I got it, and I expected someone's interpretation of the book which was worth a look, and I got that too.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 5:16 p.m. CST

    There is talk of Brian Cox winning the oscar for this

    by Fritzlorrerains

    Any truth?

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 5:22 p.m. CST

    Melonman...

    by huskerdu2

    ...you also have to see this in the context of Alfredson's work. It's very much like Let The Right One In in that it's also a meditation/deconstruction of male identity/sexuality. This is a story set within an ossified, sexually ambiguous and resolutely male dominated world. One of the best things in the film is that very poignant piece of grafitti at the end of the street - 'The Future is Female'.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 5:22 p.m. CST

    Choppah

    by Standfast

    I'm hoping the review took things too far but some of his points registered with me as potentially disappointing. You wouldn't believe how many hours of the Kardashians, Dancing with Somebody, Idol etc. She Who Must Be Obeyed makes me watch. Something like Tinker rolls around and I start praying for the best.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 5:39 p.m. CST

    Choppah: re Christopher Hitchens

    by Standfast

    Funny you should bring him into the talkback. I was just looking at his new book and was reminded that many of his literary columns in the Atlantic and couple of other magazines were nice reintroductions to some authors who lost a bit popularity. Just a few pieces I remember pretty fondly: Buchan Wodehouse Powell But the guy really loves Fraser and anybody with a Flashman card is ok in my book. I also once heard a first hand account of a booze session with him and even the retelling had me smirking/laughing at some of the talk. Maybe it's just grudging respect coming through. I have laughed at and or despised him at different moments. Certainly doesn't lack self confidence.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 5:48 p.m. CST

    standfast: Trust me, I can sympathize.

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    All my wife watches is fucking 'reality' TV. Can't get away from the shit. Thankfully, we're on the verge of divorce. Then I can focus on my efforts on finding a lady with better, more refined tastes for wife #7.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 5:49 p.m. CST

    I do count myself as a fan of Christopher Hitchens.

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    Simply can't stand his brother, though.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 6:05 p.m. CST

    Choppah: Certainly has a tough break

    by Standfast

    I know many would say he had it coming but it's a hard sentence. I'm not too familiar with Peter Hitchens. Maybe an article in the Spectator or somewhere. He did have a bit of a "tell" with the not owning a tv in his review. Seemed too proud of the fact.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 6:28 p.m. CST

    How about a BRIGHTON ROCK review?

    by MooseMalloy

    Older yes, but it's currentlly playing art houses in the U.S.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 6:37 p.m. CST

    Saw it last night and loved it

    by the_man_with_two_brains

    This film is brilliant because it sticks too fingers up to the ADHD generation and potters along at it's own pedestrian pace. Gary Oldman is brilliant as the man who speaks only when absolutely necessary. I also think the whole supporting cast deserve a mention. You can see how George Smiley is revered by his peers but he is a person of a different generation and is so bland and ordinary but you can see the history in his eyes. It is quite a talent to be so ordinary and yet so threatening. I can't urge people enough to see this film but can't help think those expecting bond or bourne will not get it. I remember going to office parties like those too before they became unpopular and the only thing that bugged me with this film is that Gary Oldman looked like a cross between the late Sir Robin Day and Ronnie Corbett

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 8:15 p.m. CST

    2 Brains and Moosemalloy

    by Standfast

    Thanks for both posts. Didn't know about Brighton Rock and happy to hear another endorsement of Tinker. If Choppah is reading, I'm enjoying a Friday edition of E! News. Considering finding an excuse to take a walk in the rain.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 8:19 p.m. CST

    It's possible...

    by TheLeader

    ...they were just trying to mimic the book's style of never really explaining things and allowing you to draw their meanings from context. Unfortunately, this is not how people are trained to watch movies (which could also explain why some people didn't get Tree of Life), but the last thing I want is for this book to be dumbed down at all. Part of the fun of reading it was getting sucked in by those "half-explanations" that leave you grasping for answers. I hope the movie is exactly the same way.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Another good Le Carre movie...

    by TheLeader

    ...is The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, now on blu-ray from Criterion. It's the book that put Le Carre on the map and I think is still his best story. Definitely worth checking out, if you can.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 8:35 p.m. CST

    Leader: you might enjoy Deadly Affair as well

    by Standfast

    The film isn't at the level of Spy Who Came... but a very nice portrayal of Smiley although named differently. James Mason plays the part.

  • Sept. 23, 2011, 11:27 p.m. CST

    What's with all the Brian Cox refrences in recent post?

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    Guess I've been out of the loop for a spell, because all of a sudden, out of seemingly nowhere, every topic has cryptic Brian Cox posts. Did something go down? Seriously, someone please shed some light on this conundrum for me please.

  • Sept. 24, 2011, 2:59 a.m. CST

    moosemalloy: the recent Brighton Rock is a seriously bad movie

    by melonman

    Incredibly disappointing - great cast and talent involved - and they've managed to get pretty much every aspect of it wrong. I literally hated the film. It's always worse with bad movies when they had such a good chance of being great.

  • Sept. 24, 2011, 4:11 a.m. CST

    Cox

    by SolidStateSociety

    the_genteel_gentile, Re: Brian Cox You should check out: Harry's DVD PICKS & PEEKS - 2nd & 3rd wk of Sept 2011.

  • Sept. 24, 2011, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Sounds EXACTLY like the BBC mini-series, dude.

    by Drath

    Did you try WATCHING that original mini-series? Great actors, lots of loaded silences and looks, but the whole thing IS very dull, slow moving, and murky. All its snap--if it can be said to have had any--belonged to the cold war era in which it was set, made, and originally broadcast. Guiness was a master, he still captivates, but as soon as he's off camera miniseries slows down to a crawl. You want urgency, but the intentional lack of it is just more of the anti-James Bond-ness of which you spoke. All your criticisms of the new movie accurately describe the mini-series, so reconsider why you think this will be "less beloved." If the movie is inferior, it's not for the reasons you've given.

  • Sept. 24, 2011, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Loved this film.

    by Dr Eric Vornoff

    Everyone always moans about how they don't make movies for adults with proper stories anymore and then one comes along and they start moaning about how it's boring and over-complicated. This film is brilliantly written, directed and performed. I was gripped throughout. Oh, and everyday's a bad day when you're Peter Hitchens. A right-wing elitist twat who thinks his shit doesn't stink but who actually has the intellectual rigour of a squashed gnat. Hard to believe he and his brother fell out from the same cunt.

  • Sept. 24, 2011, 3:09 p.m. CST

    solidstatesociety - I see. That clears it up, thanks!

    by The_Genteel_Gentile

    It's precisely because I have no use for Harry's views that I neglected to read him make a further fool of himself by blundering Brian Cox for Ian Holm and then pathetically pretending it was all a purposeful "inside joke". So sad. But it's probably best to drop it at this point. Anyone who's ever read Harry knows he hasn't one iota of aesthetic credibility nor jornalistic integrity so yet another botched fact really should come as no revelation. Everyone here seems to suffer from "South Park Syndrome" - where something initially humorous is systematically harped on to death. I promise this is the last you'll here fro me on this subject. Now moving on...

  • Call it a hunch, but i suspect this review is not making justice to the movie.

  • Sept. 24, 2011, 6:50 p.m. CST

    What does AICN have against this movie?

    by Dr Eric Vornoff

    It's been out over a week in the UK, has generally received rave reviews and good word-of-mouth from those not too thick to follow the plot. But here on Ain't It Cox News all there's been are two belated somewhat lukewarm write-ups (the first one was so short it barely qualified as a review at all). What gives?

  • Sept. 24, 2011, 10:22 p.m. CST

    TIS A WELL-EXECUTED TALE...

    by johnnyrandom

    ...and Gary Numan, Cumberthwaite Bandersnatch, and Bane are great, not to mention (which I haven't) the others. But yeah...it's a remake of a 7 HOUR TV show with Sir Obi Wan Kenobi. It was 7 fucking hours for a reason. You bastards.

  • Sept. 25, 2011, 12:59 a.m. CST

    Not Tinker news but The Long Good Friday

    by Standfast

    Is being shown on Showtime in the U.S. this early morning. The quality of the print is a hundred times better than the dvd which I thought was the one to purchase. Comically it's on the Showtime Women's channel. A second airing according to my cable company is scheduled for October at some also ungodly time. Not sure if the film holds the interest of this board but in the U.S. at least there's no well transferred dvd to my knowledge.

  • Sept. 25, 2011, 6:40 a.m. CST

    by ihatetalkbacks

    There is a lot good and a few bad things about Tinker. Bad - it is very grainy, filmed on stock and deliberatley made to look like this but it is very distracting for the 1st 15mins. There are some truely horrific focus errors too. Counter shots were the persons face is very fuzzy. Few women but they even play on this making it a feature of gender politics and also Smileys loneliness - his wife does not even have a face, and there is a "Women are the future" graffitti that is smart, showing that even if the Circus is not changing the world is. Good - pace, oddly complex and leisurely at the same time. The cast is great, if you are a British actor and not in this you may as well go home. The only person missing seemed to be Eddie Marson. Great - the sets and costume. Even though it is set in the 70s it is still drenched in the post WWII London. There are no 70s musical cues to distact. There is some modern (70s) furniture but this speaks about the characters, such as the High Secretary having a modern contempory home, others have 60s or 50s or Victorian peices to show who they are. Great attention to lamps, chairs and even teacups (note the Woods Ware in the office - old in the 70s and also too small for the men that are drinking from it, the Pallisy cups in the hotel too) that speaks volumes about the situation. The suits are amazing, louch, strached, buttoned up, flamboyant. The only character that is in 70s fashion wise is clearly done for a reason, he is the youngest and least institutionalised. The gay character has a flamoyant coloered suit but in the same 3 peice style - so he is not too far from Smileys closed lonely lifestyle. Even colour plays a part.

  • Sept. 25, 2011, 6:46 a.m. CST

    If you liked this check out:

    by ihatetalkbacks

    Defence of the Realm - creat cast and story Hidden City - oddly ponderous non-spy film Both very British and with great casts from the mid 80s, done even let the Poliakof connection put you off Hidden City.

  • Sept. 25, 2011, 8:26 a.m. CST

    This has made me appreciate Spooks/MI5 even more

    by davidwebb

    When it isn't trying to be Bourne or Bond. The character of Harry Pierce owes everything to Smiley.

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