Film Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [dir. Tomas Alfredson; 2011]

So, is it as good as everyone’s saying? My answer: very nearly. Yes, there are times when Le Carre’s tale of a search for a mole in the British Secret Service feels as though it’s been inelegantly rammed into a two-hour running time. Yes, Tomas Alfredson’s direction sometimes displays too much of the sterile coldness that was also in evidence in Let The Right One In. And yes, most of the supporting characters aren’t allowed any opportunities to develop and become memorable. But the performances are exemplary – especially Gary Oldman’s, whose neck has never been more expressive – and the restraint with which the period setting has been evoked is admirable (were the 70s really so dingy?). A soft-spoken, sardonic, thoroughly masculine piece of work which stands a strong chance of going down as a classic of the ‘thinking person’s spy flick’ genre.

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