Per IMDb: “In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6.”
The time is 1973 and an effort to capture a mole in the British Secret Service goes awry and sets off a chain reaction of major shifts in the organization including the forced retirement
of the head of the ‘Circus,’ Control (John Hurt) and senior agent George Smiley (Gary Oldman). Some up-and-comers take their places in the newly aligned department. Control dies of some illness. Before his death, Control, and George, try to dissuade the successors from starting a project called “Witchcraft,” a plan to “secretly” exchange high end Soviet information for mid-grade British info, in which the UK will exchange with the United States. Okay, all well and good.
Then, the new Head of Intelligence is contacted by rogue agent Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy) with a claim that there is a long-term mole that is in a senior position at MI6. This brings George out of retirement and on a broad investigation as to whether the claim is real, if it is, who is the mole and how are they pulling it off? What did he uncover? What did he find out? You guessed it, you’ll have to tune in to find out.
I do love me a good spy film and this was a good spy film. It wasn’t all James Bondish but it wasn’t supposed to be. This was more based in reality than surrealality (that’s not a real word, I know). The Cold War espionage and intrigue was fantastic. The visuals were very much 1970s London and Budapest. I don’t know this from actually being there at the time but I have seen a few films and I study pictures from that era and time and it looks spot on to me. They paid close attention to detail in the film. You do spend a good bit of time going through the principle players trying to figure which it is that is the mole. I will say, though, it’s a bit anticlimactic when you find out. Although, the ending is a bit sad, but fitting.
Rotten Tomatoes has it at 83% Fresh but the Audience Score is only 65%, I don’t know why. IMDb has it at 7.1 stars out of 10. It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Actor for Gary Oldman, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Score, winning none of them. I got distracted and had to back the film up a couple of times whilst watching but, I did enjoy it. I rate it 4 stars and I watched it on Netflix. Have you seen it? What did you think? What would you like to see me review?
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“A man should know when to leave the party… “ – Control