Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Dir: Tomas Alfredson

Beware…this film should be accompanied by a disclaimer that reads, “If you haven’t read the John le Carre novel, or seen the 1979 TV series, do not watch this film…you’ll have no idea what’s going on”.

 Unfortunately it’s not. I have neither read the book, nor seen the TV series starring Alec Guinness and so, spent over two hours in the dark both literally and figuratively. I managed to glean that the SIS was trying to discover which of a handful of its spies was a “mole”, but that’s about all I was able to discern.

 Fans of the book and the series have raved about the fine performances turned in byGaryOldman and Colin Firth and what a fine job Swedish director Tomas Alfredson (Let The Right One In) in. This is undoubtedly true. But all of that fine work goes to waste thanks to the impossibly obscure script that is full of spy jargon that is never explained to the lay-viewer. After two-plus hours, I still had no idea that “The Circus” was a code name for the British SIS.

 So, I’m very happy that those viewers who are familiar with the material enjoyed the film, but I’ve always been under the impression that a good film should be able to stand up on its own, not depend studying up before-hand.

 I would have left halfway through the film, but I was stuck in the middle of a crowded preview screening and didn’t want to disturb those around me who seemed engrossed in the complex plot unfolding before them.

 You have been warned…read the book, or be confused, very confused.

 Marty Duda