What was so complicated about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy plot?

Gary Oldman as James Gordon in Batman Begins (...

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Media reports at the premiere of director Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy suggested that this film was complicated, and maybe not for the faint-hearted.


They were wrong. , I’m sure even those with a low attention span could cope with Tinker and its plot.


There was nothing complicated about this film, at all. Sure, there were a few plot twists to keep you watching, but that was it. Whether this was the same for the TV series in the 70s, or indeed John Le Carre’s spy novel, which the film is based on, I don’t know, but certainly, I wasn’t left thinking, what the hell?


George Smiley, (played by Gary Oldman, better known as Commissioner Gordon, for his roles in the new Batman films), plays the ex-secret service intelligence guy forced out of retirement tasked with investigating who is the mole inside UK special branch. Well, there’s four traitors actually, so it turns out. That’s the plot. Simple.


And guess who the main mole is? None other than Academy Award winner Colin Firth, who scooped an academy award for best actor in the King’s Speech back in March at the Oscars. Firth plays Bill Haydon, one of the current espionage rogues.


Gary Oldman stole the show though in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I remember him playing the eccentric, ruthless, corrupt Cop in the 90s film Leon, directed by Luc Besson, and it was plain to see that Oldman had brought some of that previous character to his role as Smiley.


There’s a great scene where Firth and Oldman are just acting together, and the close ups of them both are chilling, and, in two words, awesomely filmed. In fact, the close ups in Tinker really made the film.


For the first few sequences of the film, (there is a long opening credit sequence to this film), Gary Oldman does not utter a word. That’s when you know there is one mighty fine actor in town. If Firth was happy, as he told news media at the premiere, at letting Oldman hog the glory in Tinker, he certainly didn’t come off as just a supporting actor in it. Although I’m not a fan of Firth, he displayed some very neat facial expressions in the film, particularly at the end. But this was an Oldman one man show. Firth was the King in King’s Speech, Oldman was King here.


The key to Oldman’s success as Smiley is simple. He plays the character with a chilling calmness that is horrifyingly gripping. There are not many actors who can grip you and make your spine chill, without words.


The film was nominated for an award this year at the Venice Film Festival for a Golden Lion.


And if I was a betting man, this will be receiving a few nominations at next year’s academy awards, and no doubt Oldman will be on the short list for best actor?



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