Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [Blu-Ray] Tomas Alfredson

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [Blu-Ray] Tomas Alfredson
Of the many things discussed on the "First Look" supplement included with the Blu-Ray release of the mostly overlooked, but profoundly worthwhile John le Carré adaptation, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the keen compression of the sprawling source narrative isn't acknowledged. While the basic plot of ex-MI6 operative George Smiley (Gary Oldman) investigating the possibility of an in-house, senior-ranking mole after a tip comes in from rogue agent Ricky Tarr (Tom Hardy) remains intact, the manner in which this film maintains the complex characterizations and day-to-day balances of work and private life amongst the agents is nothing short of impressive. We're treated to the plot complexities involving a previous failed mission in Hungary that left Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) with a bullet in his back and how it relates to the present investigation of Tinker (Toby Jones), Tailor (Colin Firth), Soldier (Ciarán Hinds) and Poorman (David Dencik) without sacrificing the thematic focus of the text. We get an idea of the misanthropic nature of the spy world and how it affects everyday relationships and personal interactions. Each of these men is so busy looking over their shoulder and calculating every statement and move that they are unable to build normal relationships. Even our quizzically quiet protagonist, George Smiley, spends the film reserved, asking questions and assessing others, which leaks into his home life, where all he can do is curiously watch and investigate the affair his wife is having with another British Intelligence agent. There's also a sense of how insular and solipsistic these men become when enveloped in this world, which is the key distinction of Alfredson's non-traditional and candid interpretation of the text. Each of them is manipulated by either flattery or self-delusion, despite being shrewdly aware of potential exploitation and the nature of the Cold War. Only single female agent Connie Sachs (Kathy Burke) seems conscious of these internal and external worlds, knowing enough to flee while remaining oddly attached. These considerations of gender, genre expectations, work versus personal life and the characterizing of misanthropic social etiquettes are what make this spy thriller mystery far more than the standard fare, even if the lack of action and clichéd tropes make the ride less than accessible for a more traditional audience. Also included with the Blu-Ray is a commentary track with Oldman and Alfredson, which discusses characters and aesthetics quite a bit. (eOne)