Spy movie is a confusing, yet enjoyable “circus”


Chandler Gerard-Reimer

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a thrilling but confusing ride Credit: StudioCanal

For those of you who have already seen and understood the film “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” without reading the novel or watching the TV series beforehand, I commend you. It is without a doubt, one of the most confusing and complicated films I have ever watched.

The story starts in media res (a term everyone will learn in 12th grade English), meaning “in the middle.”

So, obviously, the beginning is meant to be confusing, although it certainly draws in the viewer. I wouldn’t have minded this approach if the film had it begun to clear up with the pieces soon fitting into place, but the complexity only grew and grew.

The code word “circus” is thrown around a lot, and after waiting about ten minutes for clowns and elephants to show up, I had to ask my dad what the heck was going on, only to learn that “circus” is the name for England’s CIA.

Although my dad had to fill me every couple scenes, I did begin to catch on that the premise was following the search of a mole at the top of the British secret service during The Cold War. And just to be clear, not the brown rodent mole, but mole meaning a double-agent.

There are plenty of stories within the film going on at once that build the plot more and more, but I don’t want to give it away. However, the film is enjoyable, and the acting is superb. I specifically enjoyed Tom Hardy and Mark Strong — and Colin Firth, but that goes without saying.

Even still, I only recommend the movie to two types of people – ones who thoroughly enjoy a complex film structure and love picking the film apart scene by scene, and those who know a lot about the 1970s, or at least are familiar with the plot going into the theatre.

What do you think?