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My Best of 2011: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy & the Upstanding Britishness of it all…

It’s that time of the year. To celebrate 2011, and the countdown to 2012, I’m going to count down my own twelve favourite films of the year, one a day until New Year’s Eve. I’m also going to talk a bit about how or why I chose them, and perhaps what makes this list “my” best of 2011, rather than any list claiming to be objective.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is number two. Check out my original review here.

I can understand why some people were a bit disappointed by Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. After all, the trailer did try to sell the film as a bit of a high-tension action movie with a deft touch of British class, sort of like Jason Bourne meets To The Manor Borne. It’s easy to see why some people might have got the wrong impression of a movie that sold itself as an “espionage thriller”, the type of film that typically features moments on incredible suspense, nice outfits, exotic locales and the fate of the entire world in the balance. Obviously, nobody was expecting anything quite as showy as James Bond, but perhaps they anticipated a more sophisticated version of that type of adventure – without the gadgets and the supervillains and outlandish stunts, of course. However, instead of the “sophisticated James Bond”, la Carré writes what might be best classified as the “anti-James Bond.”

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Tinkers, Tailors: The Phantom of the Prestigious Sequel…

If rumours are to be believed, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is such a dramatic success that discussions have begun about a possible sequel, with Gary Oldman even chiming in that a follow-up might do well to adapt both The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People into a single film – reducing leCarré’s trilogy to a duology. Still, even if there’s only one more film produced, the news can’t help but seem a little strange: after all, it’s very intellectual material for a Hollywood franchise, isn’t it?

Every right to be Smiley...

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (BBC) (Review)

Let’s not be melodramatic. Control would disapprove.

- Smiley sums it up

It’s odd coming to the BBC’s 1979 adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in the opposite direction of most fans. I’ve never read la Carre’s original novel, and I saw Tomas Alfredson’s movie before watching the miniseries. So my perspective is slightly askew, as if I’m moving in the wrong direction. My viewing of the miniseries is informed more by the 2011 movie than by the book that inspired it. Still, it’s very hard not to be impressed by the television adaptation, which really seems like it pulled out all the stops in translating the story from page to screen, featuring an all-star cast, of which Sir Alec Guinness is only the front man.

Smiley fellow, eh?

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Non-Review Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a movie that can be measured against the very best of John la Carré adaptations, and among the very best that the espionage subgenre has to offer. I make that assertion based upon a single viewing, convinced that revisiting the movie will be something of a wonderful experience, an attempt to decode and sift through the film seeking what Control cynically describes as “treasure.” Tomas Alfredson, who established himself with Let the Right One In makes one hell of an English-language debut, providing a film that embodies the culture as much as the language, an elegant and stately affair, never feeling forced or rushed or dumbed down. I think that, with its intriguing structure and manner of suggesting ideas (rather than stating plot points), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy might represent that mythical ideal: the perfect film for grown-ups.

Never gets Oldman...

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