Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Super slow, grey and depressing. In other words, absolutely brilliant. My mother didn’t share this opinion, choosing instead to walk out and instead request she see a different film (she chose 30 Minutes or Less, which I’m assured was quite good). But sod her, what does she know.
Now, I could do what everyone except the Financial Times is doing and talk about the fantastic cast, the beautifully subtle acting, the great direction, the gorgeous cinematography and the wonderful music, but I like to pride myself on being different from other reviewers. So, instead, here are the five little things I saw in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy that made me say “no fucking way!”
1. Benedict Cumberbatch is absolutely fucking brilliant
In my old R.S. class, there used to be a bunch of PSHE work on the walls that I would stare at for hours on end to help me through. One of these works was about ginger people, and how gingers are just like everyone else, but they have silly hair. As an ex-ginger (I grew out of it) I felt drawn to this poster (also it was directly next to where I sat), and so poured over every word of it. But one thing always stuck out. The sentence, “Gingers might not make good spies.”
Well, say hello to Benedict Cumberbatch and his ginger hair, being one of the best actors in a spy film filled with huge names. After seeing him in Sherlock, I knew this guy was good, but it was until just now that I realised how good he really is. Benedict portrays one of the most emotive characters in the film, shifting between cocky, straight, deeply upset and rather sinister with what looks like relative ease. He’s cool, he’s witty, he’s quietly gay (lovely bit where he breaks up with his boyfriend), and he’s probably the best actor in the film. If he doesn’t go up for a Best Supporting Actor at the BAFTA’s then he will have been robbed.
Speaking of ginger spies, however…
2. Tom Hardy with hair
Seriously! Who the fuck put hair on Tom Hardy’s head?! That man has been bald in absolutely every film I’ve seen him in (Inception… and, uh… I’ve seen a poster for Bronson?) and now suddenly he’s a ginger mop ‘ed spy who gets the shit kicked out of him by a fellow ginger spy?
Well, bravo to the costume designer who thought Tom needed hair, because his wig is superb and so is he. His own little story is wonderfully told, and Mr Hardy has one of those voices that could melt butter (with the aid of a blowtorch (OK this metaphor is getting too complex)), so it’s always a pleasure to see him in a film, particularly one where he isn’t being strong and cocky but actually a bit vunerable. Good performance, Tom!
Speaking of surprises…
3. Al Capone is English
As Control and Smiley leave the Circus at the start of the film, the camera follows them down the stairs and out the door, showing some of the faces of those who seem to be more affected by the departure. We see our man Benedict, the woman who was Perry in the Harry Enfield, and… wait, is that Al Capone from Boardwalk Empire?
Yep, whoever that guy is happens to be English, and is seen frequently throughout the film without saying a bloody word until his own story comes into play. I’m not gonna sing his praises about his acting; sure he was good and all, but it’s late and he was no Cumberbatch.
Speaking of not singing the praises of a small part actor…
4. John le Carré is an executive producer and has a cameo role
I once read a quote by John le Carré saying something along the lines of “having your book adapted into a film is like burning the book”. OK I totally ruined the quote, but you get the idea. So naturally I was a little surprised to hear that this was being made into a film, particularly since it was previously a TV series already. I wondered what our man le Carré thought about it.
Well, as it happens, he liked the idea so much he actually helped adapt it, put his own money towards it, and went as far as appearing in it in a very small, non-speaking role that you’ll never notice. Brilliant.
5. Studio Canal have changed their logo
WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!?!?!