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Release Date: 2012-01-30
Media Type: DVD
Starring: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Kathy Burke and Benedict Cumberbatch
Artists: Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman
Directors: Tomas Alfredson
Publishers / Manufacturers: Optimum Home Entertainment
Formats: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen and HiFi Sound
Adapted from John le Carré’s uniquely British 1973 espionage novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is set in the analogue conditions of the Cold War, a time when cassette tape and Telex were your only gadgets and where middle-aged spies exchanged looks of cordial hatred--and the occasional loyalty--like Bond and Bourne exchange weapons, women and warm locations. Gary Oldman (Leon, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight) plays George Smiley, the former agent who’s called in from the cold to hunt down one of his own--a Soviet mole in the top ranks of the leaky secret service that runs MI5 and MI6. Once inside, his investigations are simultaneously professional and deeply personal: digging around for one double-crossing colleague selling secrets to the Russians only unearths another sleeping with his wife. Le Carré’s London hasn’t been updated so much as back-filled with autumnal 1970s design: brown and pumpkin patterns upholster the shabby little rooms and crooked staircases through which the spies pursue each other, while the supporting cast--John Hurt, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, Kathy Burke, Mark Strong and a porcine Toby Jones--is regularly squeezed, often several titans of British cinema at a time, into cramped British cars or shelf-sized offices. George Smiley has a natural home in Oldman, who, like Smiley, has a self-effacing control of his craft--hiding himself in outrageous villains or declining a credit entirely, as he did in Ridley Scott’s Hannibal. With its atmospheric drab and novelistic pace, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the kind of chamber-piece that suits showy ensemble performances, but Oldman’s turn as Smiley is the most subtle in recent history.
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