Movie Review – ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ (2011)

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

(sighs) The 2011 film ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’. Now before I talk about this movie, I just want to reflect on some of the things I said in my review for ‘Operation Mincemeat’. I think I might have been harsh in my criticisms for it being quite slow-going and not having enough action featured in it.

Whilst I feel that is the case, at least I was able to get into the story and characters. I was able to follow what was going on and I felt satisfied by a coherent conclusion. With ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ however, I found this to be quite a dull film when my parents and I watched it on Disney+ lately.

This is ironic, since the film has been rated highly and it won awards, including the BAFTA Award for Best British Film. It also received three Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Actor for Gary Oldman. But I felt rather drained and uninspired from seeing this film.

It’s a shame, because the film has a really good cast in it. As well as Gary Oldman (who played Commissioner Gordon in ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ of ‘Batman’ films and Winston Churchill in ‘Darkest Hour’), there are actors like Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt and Toby Jones in the film. 🙂

There’s also Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciarán Hinds, David Dencik, Stephen Graham, Simon McBurney and Kathy Burke in it. Even Laura Carmichael from ‘Downton Abbey’ makes a small appearance in the film. It was nice to see her. Roger Lloyd-Pack is in the film too as well as Linda Marlowe. All are very good actors in this.

I’m sure they were able to get something from playing their characters in the film. But as someone who hasn’t read the 1974 book by John le Carré and not seen the 1979 BBC TV adaptation starring Sir Alec Guinness and Michael Jayston, I found it a struggle to get into the story and its characters. 😦

I’m not alone in this. As well as my parents, I’ve also read a couple of reviews on IMDb about the film, including one who said that the film is boring and very grey. I would concur, since there’s not that many colours to be found in the film. There’s mostly a grey atmosphere featured throughout. 😦

The editing isn’t that good either, since there’s quite often cuts to flashback scenes and you have to work out what’s going on in order to connect everything together. Like ‘Operation Mincemeat’, there are a lot of talky scenes between characters, but I struggled in connecting with the characters.

A lot of them are unlikeable and I didn’t know who was working for who in whatever British spy government organisation there was like the Circus and such. The film expects me to know what’s going on whilst I’m uninitiated in the world of ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ and John le Carré in general.

I get there’s a Cold War atmosphere featured in this story, since the film is set during the 1970s and such. But it was hard to get into the political atmosphere without getting to know who the characters were when they’re spouting a lot of exposition and there’s not any emotional depth to it.

The climax is rather flat as well. There’s a build-up to who the villain of this movie is, but when he’s revealed, there’s no dramatic showdown between our hero and the villain. I was expecting some action scenes to be featured in the film’s climax, but it’s mostly talking, which was very disappointing.

Even when the villain got killed off by someone in his open-air prison, I didn’t feel anything since there was no dramatic or emotional build-up to make feel for that character’s death. I also wasn’t thrilled about the hero being in charge of the Circus, as I didn’t feel I got to know him as a character.

I know I should probably talk about what the film’s plot is, but there’s not much to say apart from a British spy hunting for a Soviet double agent at the top of the British secret service. I’m baffled as to how this 2011 film became highly rated, as there was nothing for me to connect to the characters. 😦

I’m sure 2011’s ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ has its fanbase and there are people out there who like this movie more than me. The film’s cast is impressive, but when you struggle to connect with the characters and you don’t know what’s going on in the story, it doesn’t make for a satisfying viewing.

I hope the 1979 BBC TV adaptation is better than the 2011 film adaptation. I ended up watching ‘Postman Pat: The Movie’ to get rid of the drained experience I had of watching this movie. 😀

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim 🙂


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