Thursday, February 02, 2012

Oscar Nominee Film # 1: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

So I finally resolved myself into watching my first Oscar Nominee for Best Film category: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The film was adapted from international best-seller novel by master espionage author (who was once employed by British intelligence services MI5 and MI6) John le Carré.

This film is not an easy one to watch as I constantly have to educate myself jargons about secret services and general background about the novel so I can have a better understanding of what's going on and not just obliviously sit there with agape expression and a thousand questions sprinting thru my brain.

Although I haven't read and seen that many spy films/novels, I am actually a huge fan of this kind of genre. Imagining the secret lives that these agents lead, the scandals, classified informations and all that shiznit excites the hell out of me. I remember the thrill and action rush - albeit only inside my head, in my own bed - I felt while reading Rober Ludlum's Bourne trilogy. 

However, for people thinking that this spy film is a la James Bond 007 secret agent, you might be disappointed to find that it isn't nowhere near to Ian Fleming's kind of espionage. There are no heart-stopping action scenes, lavish spy gadgets, sleek cars and beautiful women. 

In fact, the mood is very drab and melancholic, probably a great justification of the Cold era. Amidst it all is George Smiley, an intelligence officer who was pulled out of his forced retirement to investigate and reveal the identity of a double secret agent sitting inside the Circus - the in-house name for MI6.

Director Tomas Alfredson used nonlinear narrative technique to tell the story of how George Smiley unmasked the mole inside the British intelligence with the help of course of a few other agents (such as Ricki Tarr and Peter Guillam).

So, who was the mole? Was it Percy Alleline [Tinker], Bill Haydon [Tailor], Roy Bland [Soldier] or Toby Esterhase [Poorman] (George Smiley was Beggarman himself, the codes being assigned by the former Circus chief, Control). Watch the film and find out for yourself.

From left to right: Poorman, Tailor, Tinker, Control, Beggarman and Soldier.

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