Blu-ray Review “John Le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

Directed by: John Irvin
Starring: Alec Guinness, Michael Jayston, Anthony Bate, George Sewell, Bernard Hepton
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Acorn Media
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Running Time: 324 minutes

Mini-Series: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I was not a fan of 2011’s remake of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” at all and thought it was completely confusing and boring. The original 1979 mini-series on the other hand is a lot more entertaining and stars the wonderful Alec Guinness (“Star Wars”) in the lead role. I think it was the fact that this complex and in-depth story was spread out over 5+ hours instead of being crammed into a 2+ hour movie. There is just something that is so classy about the PBS aired British series. In this American re-cut “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”, the series is spread out over six episodes.

The mini-series reveals that a mole has infiltrated the Circus, code name for the British Secret Intelligence Service. Agent George Smiley (Guinness) gets the job of find out who can be the mole and finds that it can only be one of four men who sit at the very highest level. Throughout this task of digging through the world of Cold War-era espionage and also his own past. Alec Guinness really nails the heart of John le Carré’s character and gives a new view to the definition of a spy.

This new HD transfer comes packed with sharp and bright 1080p transfer. The audio overall is decent but only boasts a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. Overall this Blu-ray release is not the best restoration ever but if you are a fan of the series, it is worth checking out and it definitely expands on the issues that the past DVD releases have had.

The special features are impressive including some new extras for this release. There is a very interesting exclusive interview with John le Carré, author of the book, who talks about the mini-series and his book. There is an all-new interview with Director John Irvin talking about the production and its cast. There are eleven of deleted scenes that were a part of the original series, which was cut down from seven episodes to six. It is also exclusive to this Blu-ray release. The production notes are included in text format and gives some interesting information about the series. There is a glossary of main characters and terms, which comes in very handy with this film, I would recommend printed them off the internet and keeping on you while watch. Lastly there are cast filmographies and John le Carré biography included.

Blu-ray Review “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong
Benedict Cumberbatch, David Dencik, Ciarán Hinds, Simon McBurney
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release date: March 20, 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 127 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

I do not think I have been as confused during a movie as I was with “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”.  I even found myself rewinding back to try and figure it out.  I know the film was a spy picture with a lot of surprises but this was a little too much for me.  It was not the worst movie I saw last year though, it packed some really fantastic performances.  Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt really brought their A-game and really transformed into their characters.

This is the second film from director Tomas Alfredson, who previously directed the original Swedish horror film “Let the Right One In”.  The film is a takes place in 1973 London during the height of the Cold War.  It is also based on the best selling novel by John le Carre. It focuses on an attempt to capture a Russian mole inside Britain’s MI6 organization. It goes wrong and it is up to Smiley (Oldman) to get to the bottom of it.  But who can be trusted?

The Blu-ray itself though is very impressive posting an really clear and sharp 1080p transfer with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is also impressive especially during the films action scenes.  This release besides the Blu-ray disc, also comes packaged with a DVD of the film and an Ultraviolet digital copy.  The Blu-ray also takes advantage of the following cool features: pocketBLU app and BD Live.

The special features are worth checking out despite enjoying the film or not.  It is packed with great interviews from actors Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy, irector Tomas Alfredson and screenwriter Peter Straughan.  Each interview runs about 7-8 minutes give or take.  There are five deleted scenes, short and totally about 6 minutes.  There are also four short featurettes, including “Smiley”, “Inside the Circus”, “Shadow World” and “John Le Carre”.  Lastly there is also a photo gallery and teaser and full trailers included.

Film Review “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

Starring: Gary Oldman, John Hurt and Colin Firth
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Rated: R
Running time: 2 hours 7 minutes
Focus Features

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

1973. During the height of the Cold War, an attempt to capture a Russian mole inside Britain’s MI6 organization. When the operation goes horribly wrong, the head of MI6, known as “C” (Hurt) announces his retirement. “What about Smiley,” he’s asked. “Smiley is leaving with me,” is the reply.

Based on the best selling novel by John le Carre’, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” is a very faithful adaptation of the story. Filmed previously as a seven part mini-series that starred the great Alec Guiness as Smiley, the new version gives Oldman, one of film’s greatest chameleons, a rare starring role. And he certainly makes the most of it. Oldman has played a variety of characters from a rasta-style pimp to Lee Harvey Oswald and he has always managed to get inside the character and make them believable. The same here with George Smiley. His face almost hidden by oversized glasses, Smiley is the anti-James Bond. He is quiet and intellectual in his pursuits. The action here is spare. This is a thriller that you have to pay attention to. You will be rewarded for your efforts.

Director Alfredson, who created the original horror hit “Let the Right One In” proves that he doesn’t need vampires and blood to keep the audience on the edge of its seats. He keeps the story flowing smoothly, aided in part by an incredible supporting cast. Hurt. Firth. Toby Jones, Ciaran Hinds. Every actor down to the smallest part has been properly cast. Special mention is due Mark Strong, who resembles a cross between fellow actors Stanley Tucci and Elias Koteas .

New Poster and Trailer for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Based on the classic novel of the same name, the international thriller is set at the height of the Cold War years of the mid-20th Century. George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a disgraced British spy, is rehired in secret by his government – which fears that the British Secret Intelligence Service, a.k.a. MI-6, has been compromised by a double agent working for the Soviets. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy opens on December 9th.

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