‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ was the 2011 film directed by Tomas Alfredson. Screen writers were Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan. Based on the novel by John Le Carre. Starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ciaran Hinds.
Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) is sent on a mission by Control (John Hurt). Who is the head of MI6 aka The Circus. Prideaux is to collect information from a high placed Hungarian source. But the spy is shot and captured. Fallout ensures and heads roll. Control and George Smiley (Gary Oldman) are forced into retirement. Anyone close to these men was also sacked.
The chronically ill Control dies sometime after. The new regime works overtime to discredit the fallen general. The elderly gentlemen’s spidey sense had been tingling. He suspected there was a mole in their organization. Prideaux was sent to learn the mole’s identity. He walked into a trap.
Percy Alleline (Toby Jones) is the new Control. Bill Haydon (Colin Firth) is his right hand man. Roy Bland (Ciaran Hinds) and Toby Esterhase (David Dencik) are members of the inner circle. Alleline’s group spearheaded an op called “Witchcraft”. Its sole purpose was to obtain Soviet intelligence and share data with the US. Control & Smiley’s objections over “Witchcraft” were overruled.
Eventually Smiley is brought out of retirement to either debunk or prove the mole theory. One loose end is Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy). The MI6 agent is thought to be the mole. He went off the grid after his last mission. All the while dodging assassination attempts. Tarr secretly returns to London and reveals everything to Smiley.
Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch) acts as Smiley’s right hand within MI6. Smiley, Guillam and Tarr work together uncover the truth. Smiley finds Prideaux and finds out what he knows. The deceased Control’s files are invaluable to their investigation.
He gave his suspects codenames. Tinker (Alleline), Tailor (Haydon), Soldier (Bland), Poorman (Esterhase) & Beggarman (Smiley). Prideaux captors wanted confirmation of how far Control had progressed. Smiley, Guillam and Tarr laid a series of traps.
The mole is revealed to be Haydon. The sanctioned affair with Smiley’s wife was one method to keep Smiley off balanced. He is also the reason Prideaux was targeted. Prideaux learns how he was betrayed and takes revenge. He takes out Haydon. Smiley becomes the new Control with Alleline, Bland and Guillam in his inner circle.
The good: The entire cast was perfection. Unexpected twists make this an edge of your seat thriller. See the masters and the next generation at work.
The bad: Proves the saying keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
The ugly: Haydon betrayal of Prideaux and Smiley. Smiley’s wife being a habitual adulteress. Long suffering Smiley is still in love with her. She frequently leaves him. And he takes her back every time.
Enjoy this review? Receive email alerts when new reviews are available. Just click on the “Subscribe” button above.