Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

You know the story of the spy pulled out of retirement to take just one more case? Well this story's been pulled back out of retirement. Yes, you read that right. The original version of John le Carré's durable thriller was first aired as a miniseries in 1979. It was so highly acclaimed they decided to do it all over again! After all, every intelligence agency has a time when it suspects it is harboring a double agent.

Here they have trotted out the best workhorses in British cinema. This 127-minute R-rated remake of the Alec Guinness classic, boasts:
  • John Hurt ("Immortals") as Control, positive there is a mole at the highest level of MI6 and determined to root him out.
  • Gary Oldman ("Red Riding Hood") is George Smiley, pulled out of retirement and saddled with the task. Oldman is wonderful, you can see that his character is contemplative, strong, self contained and loyal. When his knees sag right at the end, it IS meaningful!
  • Mark Strong ("The Guard") as Jim Prideaux, an operative sent back to Hungary to help Control uncover the mole. In my opinion, Strong's character has the most impact.
  • Toby Jones ("My Week With Marilyn") as Percy Alleline, a fiery Scotsman who is one of the suspects.
  • Tom Hardy ("Inception") as Ricki Tarr, who gives a potential informer more value than she warrants, to her great peril!
  • Kathy Burke (lots of TV) as Connie Sachs, sort of the mother hen of the agency. She has the funniest line!
  • Colin Firth ("The King's Speech") as Bill Hayden; when his character is happy, Firth twinkles.
  • CiarĂ¡n Hinds ("The Debt") is mostly wasted as Roy Bland, one of Control's espionage suspects.
  • David Dencik ("War Horse") is Toby Esterhase, the prime suspect in their search for the mole.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch ("Atonement") as Peter Guillam, the agent with the most to do. He stays busy throughout this entire film!
  • Sveltlana Khodchenkova ("Rzhevskiy protiv Napoleona") is heartbreaking as Irena, the desperate informer who is so badly oversold!
...to name just a few.

This offers moments for many actors to shine, particularly Mark Strong, Colin Firth and Gary Oldman. Everyone else is great, but these three.... Oh my....

A word to the wise, this is mainly a talking heads-type film, so if hearing dialogue is a challenge, wait for the DVD with closed captions, or opt for a theater that provides them.

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATION: I saw this at a $6.00 Tuesday special (AMC theater). There was scarcely an empty seat in the place and that was for the second matinee of the day. As Hollywood cries the blues about the drop in audience numbers, maybe they should re-examine their prices. Hundreds of $6.00 tickets total waaaay more revenue than thirty or forty $10.00 ones. AND we were buying popcorn, which is where the profits are for theaters. Would someone please tell the suits to WAKE UP!
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Here is a link to a trailer:
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