Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on December 18, 2011 at 6:25 PM


Tomas Alfredson


IDEA:  During the Cold War days of the 1970s, British Secret Service veteran George Smiley is recruited out of retirement to help sniff out a double agent working for the Soviets.

BLURB:   Every step of the way, Tomas Alfredson’s scrupulous spy drama takes on the same low-key qualities of its characters and their profession: it’s subdued, clinical, and mannered to the point of near lifelessness. While this is an approach that often comes across maddeningly inert, it is one entirely by design, a tricky exemplification of an insular, dryly analytic world where emotions are handicaps and visibility is practically restricted. Indeed, the members of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service here occupy rooms like ghostly bureaucratic automatons, working so discreetly that barring the rare slip-up, they risk withering away into nonexistence altogether. It's quite easy to get lost in all the inner-workings and timeline shiftings on display in the labyrinthine narrative, but Alfredson’s meticulous method reaps many benefits – his cold, detached approach can be alienating, but then so are the men he's observing.

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