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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Malvern is well out in the sticks. We do have a single-screen cinema, but it is at best several weeks behind London and the big cities when it comes to showing recent film releases – if we get them at all. However, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy finally arrived here on Friday for a two-week run. I’d heard good things about it from London-based friends, who saw it weeks ago, and strongly recommended it. So I took myself along to the Sunday matinĂ©e, partly to get myself out of the house, and partly out of curiosity.

I vaguely remember the Alec Guinness TV series, and I’m pretty sure I’ve read the book at some stage, so I knew the basic plot, though I couldn’t remember the important point about who the traitor was. The first thing that struck me was how unhurried it was. The director has managed to cram a long book, and 7-part TV series, into a film of about 2 hours, and yet it feels almost slow, and definitely deliberate and unrushed. The depiction of the 1970s was very accurate, and I particularly relished the ghastly institutional paint-job on the dingy walls of The Circus.

The cinematography was very well done, and the actors are all top-drawer (I always appreciate Colin Firth…….) but I’m not sure what I thought of the script. I thought there were gaps in the plot where there simply wasn’t enough time to fill in the back-story, and the motivation of many of the characters eluded me. I think I’m going to have to re-read the book to fill in the gaps.