What’s the Story?
It’s the 70’s. There’s a mole at the top of MI5. Gary Oldman – a spy forced to retire recently – is tasked with finding said mole.
What’s the Problem?
Some films have a nice slow pace. Shawshank Redeption, for instance, isn’t an action-packed thrillathon. But Tinker takes slow to a whole new level, especially at the start. To establish pace, we are treated to about six minutes of Gary Oldman wandering around his house and waiting in waiting rooms.
There’s slow-paced and then there’s “nothing is happening”.
Don’t get me wrong – he’s acting it well. There’s character even in just him moving around and sitting and such. But that comes out even in scenes with talking. I can’t understand why they didn’t start the plot proper earlier. Once it gets going, it’s still plodding and a bit slow, but in a good way, but that early part? Just slow, to me.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The title comes from the code-words a previous agent used when looking into the mole. However, there was another name: Poor Man. For some reason, he’s left off the title. Which is odd, because Oldman’s character is Spy. The four people being investigated in this film are Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, and Poor Man. That’s not as catchy a title, granted, but it’s more accurate.
Also, I assume the book this is based on went into more information about the code names, because I can’t think of a reason to have them in this film (apart from “We had to, because that’s what it’s named after”).
Not enough clues?
If we, as the audience, are supposed to be guessing who the spy is, then Tinker fails in that. We don’t seem to be given enough information about each of the characters to suspect them. In terms of Whodunnits (or Whoisit, in this case), there isn’t enough information. But if it’s supposed to be more about us finding out the story of what’s already gone on, then it works fine.
Benedict Cumberbatch’s Haircut
is awful. The dye job is also awful.
What’s the Solution?
Get the story rolling from the get-go; don’t wait for the opening credits to finish before you let anyone talk. Maybe some more clues about each of the spies so we can suspect a couple of them on more than a hunch.
Get Benedict a haircut.
If you like slow-paced spy whodunnits, then yeah. Good cast, good script, good film.