DVD: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (15)
Friday 27 January 2012
Tomas Alfredson's perfectly cast adaptation of John le Carré's thorny tale of double-crossing spies doesn't quite equal the peerless BBC series from the Seventies, but it's still a sensationally nimble achievement.
Gary Oldman, virtually silent for the first 30 minutes of the film, plays sagacious George Smiley who is yanked out of enforced retirement to unearth the rotten apple at the top of the British intelligent services. A botched job in Hungary, involving Mark Strong's steadfast Jim Prideaux, is a key to the mystery. Smiley, accompanied by Benedict Cumberbatch's loyal Peter Guillam, is tracking four suspects – odious boss Percy Alleline (Toby Jones), shifty Roy Bland (Ciará* Hinds), dashing bounder Bill Haydon (Colin Firth) and unctuous Toby Esterhase (David Dencik). Scriptwriters Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan do a terrific job compacting the various strands of le Carré's novel and not losing too much, and Alfredson (Let the Right One In) gets the dour, bureaucratic feel of the Seventies spy game exactly right. There's no James Bond glamour here, just muted colours, musty rooms and public-schoolboy sniping and griping. The performances are uniformly excellent, but special mention goes to Strong (for once not playing a villain) as the wounded Jim, and Oldman is on Oscar-winning form as the forlorn, heart-broken (his wife is habitually unfaithful) Smiley.
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'