Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

A-

I remember when this miniseries played on PBS with Alec Guiness as George Smiley. I don't know that I watched the whole thing, but maybe so. Stretched over seven parts, it was a little slow, but it was the first time I remember hearing about moles. Eventually I read a few books by John le Carre and found out they were kind of hard to read. I wound up buying the Blu-ray because it was on sale for only $2 and came with a digital copy as well as a DVD, plus it got very good reviews. But I was still a little apprehesive, so much so that it took me nine months to actually watch the movie.

The Wikipedia article has some critics saying that there was no way to cram the entire book or miniseries into a two-hour film so it was hard to follow. But actually the pace of the movie is fairly slow. It's not an action movie. The people portrayed are primarily bureaucrats working in London. This is definitely not James Bond or Jason Bourne. Still there is a good bit of stuff they have to pack in and I feel like some shortcuts are taken in getting to know all the characters who are all suspects in the hunt for a mole. They had to have left a lot out, but everything still works just fine. Oldman plays Smiley as someone who rarely speaks. There is a great cast at work and I was surprised to see that it also has Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Because the book was written so long ago and so many Cold War spy movies have been made, it is hard for this movie to stand out. There are a few twists and turns, but really the movie just works to unravel a mystery. This way works, but I'm sure some would find it to be too slow-paced with not enough action or suspense. It definitely has that Masterpiece Theater feel to it, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The movie feels quite long, but it is still good.

The Blu-ray was cheap, as I said, and included DVD and digital versions, which is great. But the extras are pretty sparse. They have some interviews with individual cast members that are okay and a longer interview with John le Carre which is good. But they didn't edit it into a making of so it seems pretty weak.