'The cast alone is enough to make you watch 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) - IMDb


Taking place during the Cold War, former British intelligence operative George Smiley is brought out of forced retirement to find a Soviet mole in MI6.

The story is told in a very subtle way. You know what the objective is but you don’t know how the story ends and that’s what I like about these types of stories. The journey to finding out the identity of the mole is just as important as finding out who the mole is and I truly didn’t expect the ending. I wouldn’t call the ending a plot twist as you find out as the characters do and have no real idea who the mole is as he movie doesn’t make it clear or give any hints.


This is the definition of a stacked cast, Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, Colin Firth and Mark Strong are all brilliant actors and because of their collective talent, the film is elevated. I’ve used the word before but the performances are really subtle, which allows each actor to bring in character nuances. This is the kind of movie that requires the characters to be level-headed and the actors are able to deliver emotional performances without being overly emotional which is a testament to how talented they are. Especially Mark Strong and Gary Oldman. That is to say the acting is realistic.

This is a more story driven film so you don’t get to know much about the characters but the actors are able to make each of them stand out. Even though you don’t know a lot about them, you still feel connected to them and that’s because of the great performances.


This is really where the movie shines. It was directed by Tomas Alfredson and written by Peter Straughan and Bridget O’Connor. The 3 of them crafted a spy thriller that really focuses on the espionage elements. That’s what grips you and makes the movie as a whole thrilling and somewhat unpredictable. There is little to no action in this movie and I prefer it that way. The film doesn’t hold your hand. There is also little to no exposition and that allows you to try and piece together what is going on with the characters, and given the nature of the film anything could go wrong at any point and because of that there is a sense of urgency that looms over the entire movie. That also has to do with the pacing. The film as a whole has pretty slow pacing as it feels like it’s building up to something and with a runtime of 2 hours fee the time go by but it doesn’t feel like the film is dragging.

Something else to note is how realistic it make espionage look. While I enjoy movie like  James Bond and The Man from UNCLE  there’s a sense of glamour. They make being a spy look cool. This movie doesn’t do that. It shows the more lonely and paranoid side that we don’t usually get to see and it was very refreshing.

Set Design 

The visuals of the film for both the sort and the setting. Given the more gritty realistic tone the colour and set design is very muted. The film also takes place in the 70s and the set design reflects that. The film is dark both in tone and visually. And a lot of the characters are in settings that are ether isolated and dark which reflect the solitary nature of both their jobs and their existence. I’m not sure if that was what was intended but the set design and visuals paint a bleak picture of that time in history.


This isn’t the kind of movie that has a prominent score and for good reason. While the score does elevate the film it can also be distracting sometimes and this would be one of those times. The score is present but it’s very subtle and barely noticeable. That way you focus on what’s going on with the characters and the story.

Overall Thoughts

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is one of this movies you watch once every few years. I really enjoyed the way the story is structured and the subtly in which the writers and directors told the story. While I don’t see myself watching this movie again for a while, I 100% think it’s worth the watch. It’s one of those movies where there isn’t much to say but ode good reason as it’s a very very good  movie.