Thriller. 2012 – United Kingdom.
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson. Starring: Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Based on the book written by John le Carré, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”passes during the Cold War, where we follow the story of George Smiley (Oldman), a senior spy in the british agency MI6, who tries to discover who is the double agente, or mole, in the agency, who is in fact working for the russian intelligence.
If you’re expecting an espionage film in the lines of the James Bond or Mission: Impossible series, I suggest you to keep your distance from this one. “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” show us the closest we can get from what would be the real spies during the Cold War. The spies here are tired old men living lifes of secrecy and tension, doing their jobs not in the field, with gun shots, explosions and impossible technology, but behind desks and paperwork, dealing with politics and paranoia.
In the exposition, we see Smiley in a meeting with his superiors in a proof-sound room, discussing, among other matters, the retirenment of his boss, Control (Hurt). We get the first glimpse of his personality in this scene, when Control says that Smiley will be retiring with him, a statement that surprises him, an emotion that he doesn’t show except for a quick look in his face. In the course of the movie, we comprehend that this lack of emotion was the needed sacrifice that he made for his job, and that is shared by his colleagues.
But his retirement doesn’t last long, because he soon is asked by his government to discover who, among his former superiors, is the mole, a task that he needs to pursue in secret, only with the help one of his former colleagues, Peter Guillam (Cumberbatch).
Gary Oldman plays perfectly the role of a cold man, always in control of his emotions, never raising his voice, even when he needs to argue with someone or when he discovers that his wife is having an affair.
This is also sensed by Ricki Tarr (Hardy) a field agent who doesn’t accept the sacrifices that this career requires, saying that he doesn’t want this life, what he wants is a wife and a family.
This lack of emotions and life is also perfectly present in the cinematography of Hoyte Van Hoytema, who chooses to use only cold, pale colors, giving the movie a melancholic atmosphere that reflects that of this world of intrigues.
Although it’s not the kind of movie that leaves you glued to your chair (and it doesn’t intend to), “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” is an excelente movie, with great direction and performances.