Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

I recently watched the BBC adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy made in 1979 and based on the John Le Carre novel of the same name.  It stars Alex Guinness as the weary and dour George Smiley bought back secretly from retirement to hunt for a mole at the top of the British secret service.  The series is distinguished by its slow pace, silences, understated drama, and atmospheric lighting, a kind of anti-thesis to the rush and action of contemporary programmes.  Often Guinness does little more than look tired, his conversation restricted to a few words, and he's complemented by a fine supporting cast.  The plot unfolds gently, immediately wrapping the viewer in its embrace, punctuated with a handful of tense moments, thus mimicking the dull monotony of much spy work with its occasional pinch points.  The overall effect is a highly compelling, engaging, thoughtful story.  I've just ordered Smiley's People, made in 1982, which will hopefully be more of the same.

3 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - Oh, I'm glad you enjoyed the adaptation as much as you did the novel. I thought it was excellent myself and really captured what works about the novel.

Uriah Robinson said...

I thought the recent film with Gary Oldman was good as well.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Loved it and the newer version with Gary Oldham.