The 1974 novel, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, by John Le Carre has been hailed by many as the greatest espionage thriller of all time. Now a more professional film version, starring some impressive and first class actors, is due to premier at the Venice Film Festival.
George Smiley is an introverted and mature spy recalled from his retirement to find a Soviet mole within the Circus, the inner circle of senior MI6 officials. Gary Oldman who plays Smiley excels himself in a role first made famous on television by Alec Guinness.
Smiley is a man of high principles and unbending loyalty to his country but he has his own difficulties with the people he is investigating after the death of his counselor known as Control. Percy Allenine, an ambitious Scot and played by Toby Jones, has taken over from Control and resents anyone who questions his decisions.
An associate spy, Bill Haydon, played by Colin Firth, is a suave womaniser who has made a conquest of Smiley’s wife. Smiley is out to discover who is responsible for the death of Jim Prideaux, best friend to Bill Haydon. Prideaux has been shot in the back while on active duty. Smiley enlists the help of junior MI6 official, Peter Guillam, retired bureaucrat, Connie Sachs and a rogue spy, Ricki Tarr in his quest for justice
This impressive list of actors adds to the quality of the film. They are all in top form, none more so than Oldman who has given a few less than perfect performances over the past few years His acting in this film more than makes up for the past and some feel he is a strong contender for an Oscar next year.
Screenplay is by Peter Straughan and Bridget O’Connor and the film has been directed by Tomas Alfredson, who was responsible for the vampire film, Let The Right One In. The only reservation about this film is the commercial expectation. Smiley is quite the opposite to a fast moving action hero like James Bond and hopefully movie goers will see beyond this.