Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

January 6th, 2012

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Still of Gary Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch in Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyStill of Tomas Alfredson in Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyTomas Alfredson at event of Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyStill of David Dencik in Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyStill of Tom Hardy and Svetlana Khodchenkova in Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyStill of Colin Firth in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6.

Release Year: 2011

Rating: 7.3/10 (40,694 voted)

Critic's Score: 85/100

Director: Tomas Alfredson

Stars: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy

In the early 1970s during the Cold War, the head of British Intelligence, Control, resigns after an operation in Budapest, Hungary goes badly wrong. It transpires that Control believed one of four senior figures in the service was in fact a Russian agent - a mole - and the Hungary operation was an attempt to identify which of them it was. Smiley had been forced into retirement by the departure of Control, but is asked by a senior government figure to investigate a story told to him by a rogue agent, Ricky Tarr, that there was a mole. Smiley considers that the failure of the Hungary operation and the continuing success of Operation Witchcraft (an apparent source of significant Soviet intelligence) confirms this, and takes up the task of finding him. Through the efforts of Peter Guillam, Smiley obtains information that eventually leads him to Jim Prideaux, the agent at the heart of the Hungary fiasco...

Writers: Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan

Mark Strong - Jim Prideaux
John Hurt - Control
Zoltán Mucsi - Magyar
Péter Kálloy Molnár - Hungarian Waiter
Ilona Kassai - Woman in Window
Imre Csuja - KGB Agent
Gary Oldman - George Smiley
Toby Jones - Percy Alleline
David Dencik - Toby Esterhase
Ciarán Hinds - Roy Bland
Colin Firth - Bill Haydon
Kathy Burke - Connie Sachs
Benedict Cumberbatch - Peter Guillam
Stephen Graham - Jerry Westerby
Arthur Nightingale - Bryant

Taglines: The enemy is within.


Official Website: Official site | Official site [Germany] |

Release Date: 6 January 2012

Filming Locations: Blythe House, 23 Blythe Road, West Kensington, London, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: £20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: £2,814,860 (UK) (18 September 2011) (382 Screens)

Gross: $39,694,989 (Worldwide) (14 January 2011)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

John Hurt was an early choice for George Smiley in pre-production, but he was later given the role of Control.

Crew or equipment visible: Technical equipment can be seen in Smiley's glasses when he asks the whereabouts of an agent.

Roy Bland: For twenty-five years we've been the only thing standing between Moscow and the Third World War!

User Review

Not everyone can be one of Smiley's people.

Rating: 8/10

It is true to say that Smiley is no Bourne nor Bond but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a beautifully played and observed spy film. Should you expect car chases, spills, thrills, gadgets galore and closely-choreographed fight scenes then you WILL be disappointed.

Set in smoke-filled, sepia-tinged 1970s, the film centres around the uncovering of a mole 'right at the top of the circus'. The 'circus' is the British Intelligence Services and is made up of a who's who of British acting talent - Firth, Hinds, Cumberbatch, Hardy, Strong and Hurt. For the most part, the action takes place in the brown-suited and wall-papered world of England but we are given brief glimpses of the spy territory in Budapest, Paris and Istanbul. Smiley, played inscrutably by Oldman, is tasked with uncovering the mole and is ably assisted by Guillam, the ever-watchable Cumberbatch.

Admittedly this is a slow-burn of a film, full of meaningful looks, pregnant pauses and one that hints at deeper and more complex plot strands but it has an authentic air and it is a fascinating to observe a build-up of tension and cold-war paranoia which culminates in a dramatic if subdued fashion. Being slightly too young to have watched the original Alec Guiness TV series, I cannot make any direct comparisons and I imagine that a TV series allows much more time for plot and character development. The film must be judged on its own merits, and whilst I am sure that this will not be to many mainstream movie-goers' tastes, it is one for those who are looking for a film of a different type, time and pace.

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