|Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy|
My Grade: B-
The film takes George Smiley and company from point A to B to C and so on mechanically without really developing their characters enough for us to make any connection. The bigger problem is that there is no sense of significance to the main storyline, making it really difficult to care much about where these characters end up and what consequences their actions bring.
That said, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a showcase for strong performances all around. Gray Oldman’s nuanced and understated work as Smiley is one of the year’s best performances. He blends in with the chilly atmosphere of the film but leaves a distinguished mark of genuine emotion at the right moments. If you’re wondering why none of the actors have managed to enter the awards conversation, it is because of the embarrassment of riches in the ensemble. Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy all give performances that equal their greatest work. The below the line elements of the film, particularly the costume and production design works, are equally top notch and meticulous in their reimagining of the early 1970s.
Ultimately, Alfredson’s adaptation, however expertly executed it is, feels more pragmatic and less engaging than the book it’s based on but it’s nevertheless a worthy and measured cinematic experience.
Tomboy is one of those rare films about children that enters their world without looking at them through the eyes of an adult. For the short duration of this film, the audience becomes one with the kids and lives alongside them. That Sciamma manages to tell such a thought-provoking story with this youthful spirit is a miracle.