We’ve seen a ton of TV spots of late for the screen adaptation of John le Carre’s best-selling, Cold War spy thriller, TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY.
The film is receiving a platform release pattern—meaning that it opened in major centers in mid-December then was gradually opened in additional markets in subsequent weeks.
It opens as a limited multiple in Kansas City today.
TV spots for the movie would have you believing that it’s a fast paced spy thriller along the line of James Bond.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not!
Which is not to say TINKER, TAILOR isn’t worthy of your visit. But go expecting a slow-paced, thinking person’s thriller. In other words, no glamour and no sex.
A collegue who saw the film prior to my viewing it put it in starker terms: "It’s like watching paint dry," he quipped.
That’s an overstatement for sure, but now at least you know what you’re in for.
Set in 1973, the British Intelligence Service—code named ‘The Circus’—tries desperately to keep up with the eastern block’s espionage efforts whose intelligence budget, unlike Great Britain’s, is unlimited.
Making matters worse, signs now point to the agency having been compromised by a double agent working for the Soviets. Time for the agency to bring back ousted master spy Gary Oldman to make use of his unique perspective to flush out the mole.
And while these spies don’t take their martini’s shaken or stirred, they’re nevertheless a crusty bunch.
Their portrayal is executed here to perfection by screen pros like Colin Firth, John Hurt and Oldman.
I guess what I’m saying is if you really want to dig into the Cold War, where an escalating spy game took an emotional and physical toll on its players, this is your movie.
However if it’s big action and sexy intrigue you’re looking for you’ll be sorely disappointed.
For fans of that era on film, TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY will bring back memories of 1965’s THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD which starred Richard Burton.
To that end, I’m raising 3 out of 5 inglamorous fingers.