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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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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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