Thursday, December 29, 2011

4. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

The history of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'” takes us to 70’s. The failure of a space mission in Hungary triggers a change in the commander's control dome of the British services. One of the uncontrolled ones is agent George Smiley. When Smiley already has come to terms with the idea of retirement, he is put in charge of a special mission. There are suspicions that a “mole” has been infiltrated between the high instances of the Service and only somebody from outside can discover it. With the help of other retired officers and one faithful agent, Smiley will be successfully obtaining information and fitting the pieces that will take to the traitor. During this process he will find treason histories, ambition and lies.

At its narrative, the film is an old-fashioned whodunit; yet it’s the thematic circumference that dominates loyalties betrayed and the betrayals compounded. As the narrative develops, the scenes grow thicker in sinister subtext, until the flashback becomes about: The past is never simple and not even past, it always sows the seeds of the present.

Nearly 40 years later, this superb remake has the inevitable look of a period piece, a smoke-filled rendering of things past. John le Carré wrote the novel in the early seventies and the BBC adapted it. However, thanks to Tomas Alfredson’s great direction and a brilliant cast, with Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy among others, the film also retains its contemporary relevance, as a reminder that the ethical ambiguities of today’s geo-political climate are hardly new, that there was never anything simple about the simple dialectic of the Cold War. A greatly acted film; go check it out.

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