I knew Le Carré had a fondness for fox hunting and so I rented an authentic Lady's Victorian riding costume. Then I drove to St. Buryan a small village in Cornwall and stopping by the local stables, I arranged to hire a horse for the hunt.
Writing about films is not something I often do, but as an old Cold Warrior who has covered intelligence matters for decades and been involved in a few, the thrilling book Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is right up my dark alley.
It's not as if this sober, subtle spy film was ignored -- it was one of the most acclaimed films of the year and received three Oscar nominations. But I think the stock of this remarkable achievement is going to rise steadily.
Absorbing and fully understanding this movie is work. You must give your full and undivided attention to process every minute detail -- it could be a clue! Better think twice before that large popcorn and soda.
There has to be in every story at least one character for whom the reader or viewer really cares. Someone has got to matter emotionally. For me, there is not a character in this film of such a stature.
Le Carré succeeds in what most authors dream of but few achieve: he creates fully realized worlds inhabited by complex human beings (well, men) dealing with complex issues. He manages this without resorting to infodumps or appendices.
Long for the heady, Cold War days of espionage? Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy rallies a stellar cast to tell a tale deception and conspiracy. It's dark, it's tense, and it makes James Bond look like Maxwell Smart's less-incisive brother.
From the somewhat hazy cinematography to the John Barry-ish score to the overtly cold and clinical nature of the narrative, this is a film that (appropriately) wants to take us back to what many consider to the peak of mainstream adult filmmaking.