Friday, December 23, 2011

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The Cold War is on and British Intelligence is trying to find out who the 'mole' in their department is.  Gary Oldman heads an all star cast including John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong ('Sherlock Holmes'), Toby Jones (Truman Capote in 'Infamous'), Ciaran Hinds ('The Debt'), and Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC's Sherlock Holmes) in this 70's retro espionage thriller that's a remake of a TV miniseries from 1979 starring Sir Alec Guiness.  And the look and feel hasn't been updated in the least.  If you didn't know any better, you'd think this film was actually made in the 70's.  And that's a compliment.

On one hand, it's really refreshing to have a smart, thoughtful action-less film for a change that doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator.  (Frankly, this one's too highbrow to be successful in American theatrical release.  It would have been a better fit for the BBC.)  But on the other hand, I'm not sure I'm smart enough to follow a film like this.  Or, perhaps it's just unfollowable, at least in parts.  I guess we'll have to wait for other reviews to find out if that's the general consensus.  Regardless, I appreciate a challenge and a film made for adults with a very watchable cast, and this is it.  And I hope it's more of a box office success than I suspect so that we can get more films like this made.  So for those of you who fondly remember espionage films from the 70's like '3 Days of the Condor', check this one out.

Grade: B+

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