When it comes to writing about spies John Le Carre knows his stuff. So when he raves about the latest adaptation of one his most famous novels ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier spy’ this reviewer was really quite keen to see it.
If only I’d contented myself with imagining how could it might be.
I’m sorry to report that like the life of the spy itself ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier spy’ is actually quite boring.
There are lots of frosty scenes with lonely isolated men, living in a shadowy secret world where everyone is a potential traitor. Their profession makes it impossible to have a relationship of any kind with anyone. After all if trust is the basis of any bond how can men taught to trust no one as a matter of survival possibly connect with anyone?
Here lies the problem of the film. What the director has decided to do is make this the focus of the story rather than the plot, which seems in this adaptation almost inconsequential. This is less a thriller and more of a drama, full of fine actor-ly performances from the likes of Gary Oldman and John Hurt.
However, a cinema-goer can’t live by acting alone. We need a bit of tension, a touch of the whodunits to put these performances in some kind of context. Sadly, we don’t get it. The action feels episodic and strangely disjointed meaning that we are totally uninterested in who is the guilty party by the time the film reaches its climax.