|A great cast is the composition of one of many great shots in Thomas Alfredson's adaptation of John le Carré's spy novel, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy|
*** out of ****
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy lies somewhere in my mind that is a place of uncertainty. Is it a work of well-calculated greatness or is it sloppy storytelling in disguise? I have seen this movie three times now and I think I am at the point where I understand most of it. This is a film that demands very close attention and committed memory to all names and events mentioned in order to comprehend the passages it is taking. I think I find this difficult because the film is filled with the distraction of strong atmosphere created by director Tomas Alfredson. The cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema, who previously collaborated with Alfredson on Let the Right One In, has a very meditative approach through movement and a nostalgic color-pallet similar to gloomy European thrillers of the late seventies and early eighties. The score by Spanish composer Alberto Iglesias is one of the best I heard in 2011 because of how effectively dark and mysterious it is despite it's being really soft. I was so immersed in the environment every scene created, that I rarely felt the ability to pay attention to the characters and story. Maybe this is a problem you will have with this movie or maybe it's just me.
There is a lot of foreshadowing that contributes to the mystery of the film but, for me, it is subtle to a fault. Fans of John le Carré's work may say that this is a fitting tribute to his vision of the world of spies; a world he was a part of, where certainty is very rare and everything is incredibly grey.
This is a film that shows spies as intelligent listeners and observers. Gary Oldman doesn't have one line for what seems like a long time during the first act and conveys a character of intelligence and experience simply through well conducted body language. I could go on about how cool this cast is but I don't think I have the time right now to write about such a long list of great talents.
I generally think this is a good movie and where I have faith in it's possibly being great, is that it seems like a movie I could buy and watch again and again (Particularly on lazy Sunday mornings) and only feel more interested every time.
Check out Ebert's review