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Dating Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The ideological monoliths of the Cold War are gone. Can a film about a secret service traitor have any resonance for the modern audience, beyond the historical?

By Jay Elwes   September 2011

Leonid Brezhnev’s visit to Washington in 1973, the year before le Carré’s novel was published, began a period of improved relations between the United States and the Soviet Union

The film adaptation of the 1974 John le Carré novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is, from a technical perspective, a supreme exercise of compression. Its Byzantine plot is expertly crammed into two and a half hours of celluloid, in an effort of distillation described recently by Gary Oldman as like “fitting an elephant into a phone box.”

Oldman takes the lead role in this new adaptation and, in doing so, he…

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