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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [Blu-ray]


(Tomas Alfredson, 2011)





Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Focus Features

Video: Universal



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:07:40.694

Disc Size: 48,003,593,137 bytes

Feature Size: 37,482,645,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.83 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: March 20th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3409 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3409 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



Commentary with Director Tomas Alfredson and actor Gary Oldman

• Deleted Scenes (6:08 in 1080P)

First Look: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (13:00 in 1080i)

• Interviews with Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Director Tomas Alfredson, Peter Straughan and John le Carré  (24:43 - 480i)

My Scenes





Description: Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson takes the helm for this adaptation of John Le Carré's novel about an ex-British... agent who emerges from retirement to expose a mole in MI6. England, 1973: British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) head Control (John Hurt) and his top-ranking lieutenant George Smiley (Gary Oldman) are both forced into retirement after a mission involving respected secret agent Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) turns unexpectedly deadly. As the Cold War continues to escalate, suspicions of a Soviet double agent begin to grow within the SIS. Subsequently summoned by Undersecretary Oliver Lacon (Simon McBurney), Smiley is secretly reemployed by the SIS in order to root out the double agent suspected of sharing top-secret British intelligence with the Russians. Meanwhile, as Smiley and his new partner Agent Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch) begin systematically examining all of the official missions and records involving MI6, the veteran spy can't help but recalling an encounter he once had with Karla, a dangerous Russian operative, years prior. At first, uncovering the identity of the infiltrator seems nearly impossible. Smiley and Guillam get a big break, however, when undercover agent Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy) reveals that he has fallen for a mysterious woman in Turkey named Irina (Svetlana Khodchenkova) who may have a crucial lead. Later, upon learning that Control had comprised a list of five possible suspects, code named Tinker (Toby Jones), Tailor (Colin Firth, Soldier (Ciarán Hinds), Poor Man (David Dencik) and Spy - none other than Smiley himself - the investigation begins to heat up again.



The Film:

Oldman’s performance is most eloquent and expressive in his fluent command of body language. The set of his shoulders and his posture, the occasional adjustment of his spectacles, tell you precisely what’s going on in Smiley’s mind. There is a moment near the end when we only see him from the back but feel an electric thrill, knowing with certainty by his stance that his heart has leapt at what he has seen. Alfredson is startlingly adept at envisioning how Smiley’s mind works; you can almost see the wheels turning as the pieces of the puzzle click together (at one point you literally see tracks converging as he nears his ‘Eureka!’ moment), and a clever piece of sound editing filters conversations through Smiley’s thought process until he homes in on a phrase that is the key to everything. And then there is his face in his final shot; we recognise the sweet taste of game over, game well-played in his mouth.

Excerpt from Empire Online located HERE

Dread throbs like a heartbeat in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” a superb new adaptation of the 1974 spy novel by John le Carré. It’s a deep pulse that maintains its insistent rhythm throughout the film’s murmured conversations, life-and-death office intrigues, violence and yearning loves. The throbbing does a number on your nervous system — this is a movie you watch on high alert — and brings you into the state of mind that can feel like a state of siege and goes by the name of British secret service, or just the Circus. For those inside the intelligence service, like George Smiley, played with delicacy and understated power by Gary Oldman, knowledge is power, but so too is fear.

Excerpt from Manohla Dargis at the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is transferred to a dual-layered Blu-ray from Universal and the bitrate is very high. WE can presume that this replicates the theatrical presentation extremely well. The period art-direction and misty, dark aura are accentuated by the occasional detailed close-up. The image quality shows plenty of textured, appealing, grain. DoP Hoyte Van Hoytema's (The Fighter, Fredrik Edfeldt's under-appreciated The Girl, Let the Right One In etc.) camera shows some magic moments floating around artistically. I see no digital manipulation and visually this looks very strong and faithful to the stylistic intent.


















Audio :

A solid track via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3409 kbps. It less of an aggressive film - contrary to what many might anticipate. There is some punchy gunshots and the whispers than emanate less-subtly from the rear speakers. They will surprise. Overall sounds like a good mix. The original music by Alberto Iglesias (whose recent resume includes The Skin I Live In, Che and The Kite Runner etc.) sounds fabulous and supportive via the uncompressed track. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Supplements include an informed commentary with Director Tomas Alfredson and actor Gary Oldman - both offering intelligent, insightful information into the production and underlying plot details. Comparisons to the novel should be expected. There are 6-minutes of less-consequential deleted scenes in 1080P and a generic First Look: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy piece with Alfredson running a dozen minutes. There are are further interviews with Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Director Tomas Alfredson, Peter Straughan and John LeCarre totaling about 25-minutes in SD. The Blu-ray disc has My Scenes etc. capabilities.



I wasn't that keen to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy expecting something quite ploddingly paced. This had a strong layer of suspense - adeptly realized by Alfredson. It was a very enjoyable experience once I settled-in. The Blu-ray has no discernable flaws - great a/v and some decent extras and a commentary for those appreciating enough to indulge. Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

March 13th, 2012




About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Gary W. Tooze






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