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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy(2011)
In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons.
For more about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Blu-ray release, see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on March 2, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Writers: John Le Carré, Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan
Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, John Hurt, Toby Jones
» See full cast & crew
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, March 2, 2012
Winner of BAFTA Film Awards for Outstanding British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay, Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy" (2011) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Studio Canal. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailers; video interview with writer John Le Carre; interviews with cast members and director Tomas Alfredson and screenwriter Peter Straughan; short featurettes; John Le Carre's novels "The Honorable Schoolboy" and "Smiley's People" read by Michael Jayston; photo gallery; and more. In English, Russian, and Hungarian, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Swedish director Tomas Alfredson's second feature film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy opens up in London, in 1973. Control (John Hurt, The Elephant Man, Midnight Express), the top man in MI6 (referred throughout the film as the Circus), has designed an operation to help a Hungarian army general defect to the West. Control's trusted man in Budapest will be Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong, Body of Lies), an experienced field agent who isn't afraid to take serious risks.
There is a good reason why Control wants to help the Hungarian general - he knows the identity of a mole in the highest echelon of the Circus who has been sending crucial information to Karla, the head of KGB, for years.
Prideaux arrives in Budapest but on the day when he is supposed to meet the Hungarian general things go terribly wrong. He is captured by AVH (Hungarian Secret Police) agents and then redirected to KGB's local agents. The news about the failure immediately reaches London and heads begin to roll.
Some time after the disaster.
George Smiley (Gary Oldman, Romeo is Bleeding, Immortal Beloved), a former espionage agent who was forced into retirement after the Hungarian operation, is brought back to the Circus after Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy, Warrior), a field agent who has been working in Eastern Europe, notifies a senior government official that he has credible information that there is a mole amongst the top British spies who works for the Soviets. Smiley is ordered to investigate Tarr's information.
Smiley meets Tarr and then begins to study his information. Eventually, he realizes that Control's failed Hungarian operation might have been part of a much bigger and more complex operation meant to expose the mole in the Circus. Like Control before him, Smiley begins monitoring the four most powerful men in the Circus - Tinker (Toby Jones, The Painted Veil), Tailor (Colin Firth, A Single Man), Soldier (Ciaran Hinds, The Weight of Water), and Poor Man (David Dencik, Brotherhood).
Based on the famous novel by John Le Carre (the nom de plume of Englishman David John Moore Cornwell), a former MI6 spy turned writer, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a slow, moody, and incredibly complex film that offers a glimpse into the world of professional spies.
The film is structured in a way that leaves plenty of credible possibilities for the viewer to ponder for as long as possible without looking ridiculous. There are clues but they are incredibly difficult to identify, and even when at the end everything is put in proper order it is difficult to fully understand the thought-process of the spies as well as the motivations behind their actions.
Difficult but not impossible, especially if one remembers well the Cold War and how it affected people. The film offers a real sense of the depressing uncertainty that was a natural part of life at the time, even for those who were far better informed than the masses. Smiley and his colleagues, for instance, are all powerful and very intelligent men who don't trust each other because they understand how fundamentally flawed the system they serve is, which is why they are also incredibly lonely men, moving shadows that ordinary people rarely ever notice. Their sad and lonely existence is what the film focuses on, not their secret operations and unique skills.
Oldman, who earned his first Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, is terrific as the disillusioned Smiley (played by the great Alec Guinness in the 1979 TV series). Firth is superb as the calm and confident Tailor. Jones also shines as the neurotic Tinker.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Studio Canal.
The film has a very appropriate, mostly subdued look. Natural light is typically restricted, long shadows often fill up the screen, and the prominent colors are cold grays, browns, greens, and blacks. Certain sequences (mostly the flashbacks) are made to look worn out, at times even pale, while the rest of the film looks crisp and sharp (see screencapture #11) - but not vibrant. The idea behind these stylistic decisions is to highlight the fact that the main protagonists operate in a seemingly casual yet enormously depressing and dangerous environment, a gray world where people can easily disappear and no one will notice. Detail is excellent throughout the entire film. Most close-ups convey outstanding depth (see screencapture #1 and 12), while the few panoramic shots look fluid. There are no traces of problematic post-production denoising. On the contrary, some adjustments have been performed to push up the low-light noise in order to accomplish the pale look mentioned earlier (see screencapture #6). There are no banding or aliasing patterns to report in this review either. All in all, this is a strong and competent presentation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy that is guaranteed to please its fans. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English LPCM 2.0 (with small portions of Hungarian and Russian). A separate descriptive audio track is also included. For the record, Studio Canal have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they split the image frame and the black bar below it.
Some of the most effective sequences in the film are the ones where the music slowly replaces the heavy silence. In these sequences, Alberto Iglesias's score opens up the film tremendously well, adding plenty to the tense atmosphere - the sound is rich and well rounded, full of color. The surround channels are also very effective, though you should not expect a lot of activity. Again, what impresses are the well timed enhancements, not their intensity. The dialog is crisp, clean, stable, and exceptionally easy to follow. For the record, there are no sync issues or audio dropouts to report in this review.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I grew up in a world where a lot of what is depicted in Swedish director Tomas Alfredson's second feature film was a fact of life - the depressing uncertainty, the paranoia, the corrosive feeling that even your closest friends and relatives could be secret police informers. I remember well how this strange reality profoundly changed a lot of people, and destroyed just as many. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is about a group of professional spies who serve the system that created the uncertainty and paranoia and eventually get crushed by it. It is a brilliant, incredibly realistic film, one of the very best I've seen this year. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Blu-ray - November 20, 2011
The UK branch of Studio Canal (formerly Optimum Home Entertainment) will release a Double Play edition of Tomas Alfredson's thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011), starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, and Toby Jones. The film is nominated ...
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