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-   -   Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/187-official-avs-blu-ray-disc-reviews/1400757-tinker-tailor-soldier-spy-blu-ray-official-avsforum-review.html)

Ralph Potts 03-19-2012 11:24 AM

attachment.php?attachmentid=240937&d=1332164793
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

87






Studio and Year: Universal - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 128 minutes
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Ciran Hinds, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, Kathy Burke, Stephen Graham, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Simon McBurney
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Music by: Alberto Iglesias
Written by: Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan based on the novel by John le Carre
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 20, 2012







"The enemy is within"



Film Synopsis:

Gary Oldman leads a stunning all-star cast in this masterful adaptation of John le Carré's bestselling novel that redefined the spy thriller. At the height of the Cold War, a precarious operation goes deadly wrong, and the head of British Intelligence wonders if a double agent is leaking vital secrets. Brought out of retirement to expose the potential mole, master spy George Smiley (Oldman) is the only one who can be trusted to expose one of their own. Or can he? As the emotional and physical tolls mount on the high-ranking suspects, Smiley will be forced into the ultimate international spy game where everyone's motives are in question.



My Take:

At the height of the Cold War, Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), a.k.a. MI6 (code-named the Circus), has been compromised. An ever-watchful former top lieutenant and career spy, George Smiley, is called out of retirement by the government to help identify and track a suspected mole at the top of the agency. The list of suspects is narrowed to five men. Even before the startling truth is revealed, the emotional and physical tolls on the players enmeshed in the deadly international spy game will escalate.

This film plays out pretty much exactly as you might expect in that it is a straight forward whodunit with a finish that in my opinion wasn't hard to see coming. Where the film excels is in the unfolding events that surround the search for the crafty mole. The subtexts of betrayal and paranoia fuel the intrigue as ambition driven agendas and the high stakes that accompany them are played out right through to the film's final moments. I found reward in that as well as the superb performances by my man Gary Oldman, Toby Jones, and Benedict Cumberbatch (along with the remaining cast of notables). On the down side I found the pacing, especially during the first act, to be abysmal. During that first act I found myself rewinding a bit as I couldn't escape feeling as if I had missed something. The problem, at least for me, lied in the phrasing/dialogue which is filled with terminology used among the men/women of the Circus. The narrative also shifts back and forth in time with little indication so strict attention is required. By the second act the players/scenarios are clearly defined/established which allows the focus to shift toward deciphering the series of events both past and present that are leading up to the discovery of WHO. I did enjoy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy but it wasn't the gripping spy thriller that I was expecting.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence, some sexuality/nudity and language.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 88


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.9 Mbps.

This video presentation has a filmic quality that doesn't always lend itself to razor sharp images however resolution is excellent as both people and objects are rendered with clear definition that at times is meticulously resolved. The color palette isn't a diverse one and sticks mainly to tamped down secondary hues with splashes of primary colors that render a cooler overall aesthetic. Flesh tones are on the bland side but fit right in with the visual style of the video. Contrast is bold which adds dynamic emphasis to sequences containing bright elements. Blacks are nice and deep which provides plenty of pop when onscreen with mixed content. Scenes containing uneven and/or dim lighting reveal discernible detail in shadowy backgrounds and darkened areas. Grain is readily apparent in varying levels that at times draw attention to it. Otherwise I found little to complain about and thought that this one looked great.

This is primarily a dialogue driven film however there are elements in the film that require use of the entire system so its ability to clearly render them is essential. Dialogue is reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture as it is appropriately balanced within the front soundstage. The surround mix utilizes the entire platform to deliver the more active sequences as well as to recreate the acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The rear channels contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional cues that effectively integrate with the front soundstage. This is an enriching audio presentation that mates well with the source material.



Bonus Features:


  • Feature commentary with director Tomas Alfredson and actor Gary Oldman

  • (HD) Deleted scenes - 6 minutes

  • (HD) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy first look - 13 minute featurette

  • Interviews:

    1. Gary Oldman
    2. Colin Firth
    3. Tom Hardy
    4. Director Tomas Alfredson & co-screenwriter Peter Straughan
    5. Author John le Carre

  • My scenes bookmark feature

  • pocket BLU

  • BD-Live

  • Bonus DVD

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy


Final Thoughts:

Based on the best selling novel by John le Carre Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is an engaging but lukewarm spy thriller that features an excellent cast led by the Academy Award nominated performance by Gary Oldman. It makes its way onto Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video quality and a decent supplemental package that is worth checking out if you enjoyed the film. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is recommended viewing but qualifies more as a rental than blind buy.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Ovation 03-19-2012 01:10 PM

I found this to be among the most enjoyable and rewarding films I've seen in the past five years (and I see at least 200 movies a year). It will be added to the collection for further viewings ASAP.

One tip to know if you seeing a flashback or "the present"
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
is to pay attention to Smiley's glasses.
This kind of subtlety is exactly why I so enjoyed this film--it does not have characters whose sole purpose is to spout expository language to illuminate those who've not paid attention. It demands the viewer be alert throughout the whole thing--something I think is a bit of a lost art in cinema these days (in some discussions of this film I've seen condescending posts about how anyone who had trouble following the story is "stupid" or some variation thereof--I would not agree with that perspective, especially given the company with whom I watched the film. Instead, I would argue that, collectively, movie-goers have fallen out of practice as this kind of film is not nearly as prevalent as it once was--not that it was ever a dominant approach to film-making, of course).

The other thing I really liked about this film is the effort taken to make it look like a film made in the time period it depicts. No shaky-cam, no super-fast post-MTV video editing styles If the actors were not too young to have actually played their respective roles in the 70s, it would not take too much effort to convince people that this was simply a film that had gotten lost and forgotten in the vaults since 1975 or so.

I look forward to further Le Carre adaptations from this production team.

JamE55 03-19-2012 01:55 PM

This movie was definitely enjoyable, magnificent, brilliant and just very well done! From the cast of characters to plot/story this movie delivered.

I love how the intricacy and meticulous details of spying was done. Gary Oldman and Colin Firth did a great job. Definitely a collect.

gwsat 03-19-2012 02:08 PM

Ralph -- Thanks for your review. I am sorry that Tinker, Tailor disappointed you dramatically but that is a common complaint about Le Carre's stories. They are extremely demanding, so much so that I have read the novels I liked best multiple times, which includes Tinker Tailor. I have also watched the old miniseries, starring Alec Guinness, on multiple occasions. I assume you have not read Le Carre's novel upon which this film was based or seen the miniseries. If that's the case then I highly recommend that you watch this film a second time. I think you will be glad if you do. Having said all this, keep in mind that I am a John Le Carre nerd, so consider the source.

Ovation -- I agree with your high opinion of this fine film. I preordered a copy of the BD from Amazon so should have it soon. I wouldn't have imagined that a film treatment of Le Carre's complex novel could ever be in a class with the classic miniseries starring Alec Guinness but this film is. I thought Gary Oldman was out of this world as Smiley and that the rest of the film's large ensemble cast was just as good.

capnvid 03-19-2012 07:51 PM

I have the Blu-Ray and love every moment of it. It's a very well made film, with use of CGI that is impercetable until you are told in the comentary or interviews that is added to aid the mood or make it more 70s looking. The Blu-Ray is sharp and brings out the best in this well photographed and extremely well lit film. I had no problems with the beginning because I'm familiar with the material. The acting is sublime, with Gary Oldman matching Alec Guinness who was so good in the TV adaption that John Le Carre (David Cornwell when he actually worked at the "Circus") stopped writing books about George Smiley because he felt that Guinness now owned the charachter. Now Oldman's harsher, stronger performance owns Smiley. Mark Strong has never been better and Colin Firth is perfect.

Rent it by all means, but if you love well done drama, buy this masterpiece and put it on your shelf with your other favorite films. It was the best movie I saw last year.

Ralph Potts 03-20-2012 02:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

Ralph -- Thanks for your review. I am sorry that Tinker, Tailor disappointed you dramatically but that is a common complaint about Le Carre's stories. They are extremely demanding, so much so that I have read the novels I liked best multiple times, which includes Tinker Tailor. I have also watched the old miniseries, starring Alec Guinness, on multiple occasions. I assume you have not read Le Carre's novel upon which this film was based or seen the miniseries. If that's the case then I highly recommend that you watch this film a second time. I think you will be glad if you do. Having said all this, keep in mind that I am a John Le Carre nerd, so consider the source.

Greetings,

gwsat, thanks for your impressions (as well the others that have posted their thoughts). I have every intention to watch TTSS again..

Regards,

gwsat 03-20-2012 06:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by capnvid View Post

Colin Firth is perfect.

I agree that Colin Firth was perfect as slick, enigmatic, Bill Haydon. It's a great role and Firth made the most of it.

Don Landis 03-21-2012 07:12 AM

Quote:
During that first act I found myself rewinding a bit as I couldn’t escape feeling as if I had missed something. The problem, at least for me, lied in the phrasing/dialogue which is filled with terminology used among the men/women of the “Circus”. The narrative also shifts back and forth in time with little indication so strict attention is required. By the second act the players/scenarios are clearly defined/established which allows the focus to shift toward deciphering the series of events both past and present that are leading up to the discovery of WHO. I did enjoy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy but it wasn’t the gripping spy thriller that I was expecting.

After replaying this several times I decided to come here thinking, I don't get it! Ralph will explain it. You did! Thanks, now I can go back and watch it again, hopefully understand what is going on. Didn't have trouble with the flashbacks because of the glasses switch but just had trouble with the whole point of retirement and the mole. Back to watch it again.

Ralph Potts 03-21-2012 07:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Landis View Post

After replaying this several times I decided to come here thinking, I don't get it! Ralph will explain it. You did! Thanks, now I can go back and watch it again, hopefully understand what is going on. Didn't have trouble with the flashbacks because of the glasses switch but just had trouble with the whole point of retirement and the mole. Back to watch it again.

Greetings,



Glad to hear it Don. I will be giving it another spin when time permits as well.

Regards,

joebloggs13 03-22-2012 02:39 PM

This was a blind buy for me as I am a big Le Carre fan and have read all his books. Although I have heard that this version is inferior to the original Alec Guinness version(which is 5.5hrs long), I think the comparison is unfair due to the fact that the latest version had to be compressed. The cast is superb, in my opinion and the story is compelling. Well done if you ask me.

gwsat 03-22-2012 03:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by joebloggs13 View Post

This was a blind buy for me as I am a big Le Carre fan and have read all his books. Although I have heard that this version is inferior to the original Alec Guinness version(which is 5.5hrs long), I think the comparison is unfair due to the fact that the latest version had to be compressed. The cast is superb, in my opinion and the story is compelling. Well done if you ask me.

I liked this remake very much and would be hard pressed to say that it is inferior to the iconic Alec Guinness miniseries. Obviously, you cannot retell LeCarre's intricate tale as thoroughly in a two hour film as you can in a 5 or 6 hour miniseries. Nevertheless, the tightening up works to the film's advantage in some ways and the performances by the film's ensemble cast, especially Gary Oldman as Smiley and Colin Firth as Bill Haydon, could hardly have been better. Because you are a LeCarre fan going in, I suspect you will love this movie as much as I did, which was a lot.

gwsat 03-24-2012 11:43 AM

My copy of the Tinker Tailor BD came earlier this week and I watched it last night. I enjoyed it even more than I had in the theater. The screenplay was brilliant and the performance across the board were outstanding.

Today I watched the commentary by Tomas Alfredson, the film's director, and Gary Oldman, who of course played Smiley. I was reminded of Ralph's review of the film when I heard Alfredson say very early in his commentary that the story is so complicated, it's necessary to listen to the commentary to know what is going on. I think Alfredson was only half kidding. By far the best of the extras, was an extraordinary interview of John Le Carre. The man is both brilliant and articulate. He may be 80 but he hasn't lost a step. This interview is not to be missed.

joebloggs13 03-25-2012 02:23 PM

I thought it was a very good film, but like others, I believe Le Carre cannot be accurately portrayed in the time frame of todays films. It would have been better in two parts I think. The acting was superb, but the characters never had a chance to mature throughout the short lifespan of the film. I think that the Alec Guinness version of this story is still the best.

stereomandan 03-29-2012 10:28 AM

...been a LONG time since I've commented on AVS, but just thought I would drop in for a bit. Glad to see you are still doing a fantastic job with the reviews Ralph!

I was so looking forward to this film, with high expectations based on the trailor. However, I lost patience about 1/2 to 2/3 through the movie and didn't finish it. (I'm almost ashamed to say. ) Just too much jumping around, confusing characters, and lack of plot dynamics left me struggling to finish. I'm know I missed the twist at the end, but I just didn't care too much after a while.

I too watch many films each year, close to 200, and I guess sometimes one will just not resinate with me.

I did appreciate the great effort to make this appear in the period in which the story takes place. Very well done in that regard.

Dan

Ralph Potts 03-29-2012 12:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by stereomandan View Post

...been a LONG time since I've commented on AVS, but just thought I would drop in for a bit. Glad to see you are still doing a fantastic job with the reviews Ralph!

I was so looking forward to this film, with high expectations based on the trailor. However, I lost patience about 1/2 to 2/3 through the movie and didn't finish it. (I'm almost ashamed to say. ) Just too much jumping around, confusing characters, and lack of plot dynamics left me struggling to finish. I'm know I missed the twist at the end, but I just didn't care too much after a while.

I too watch many films each year, close to 200, and I guess sometimes one will just not resinate with me.

I did appreciate the great effort to make this appear in the period in which the story takes place. Very well done in that regard.

Dan

Greetings,

Welcome back Dan.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and don't be a stranger..

Regards,

Barana2080 04-14-2012 07:32 PM

Was it just my player or was there a lot of grain in this film. I have a new Panasonic 220 blue ray player. I understand it supposed to look grain, but there was a lot of grain. Can somebody please calm my fears that my blue ray is working properly

Barana2080 04-15-2012 11:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barana2080 View Post

Was it just my player or was there a lot of grain in this film. I have a new Panasonic 220 blue ray player. I understand it supposed to look grain, but there was a lot of grain. Can somebody please calm my fears that my blue ray is working properly

Hello anybody have thoughts on this?

Matts 04-20-2012 12:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barana2080 View Post

Hello anybody have thoughts on this?

I can't comment on the blu-ray, however, I did see this movie at my local art house when it came out. The art house I watched this movie was using a Sony DLP projector and from my memory I don't remember there being a lot of grain in the picture. There may have been a little in the opening seen that is very dark with a lot of shadows and tricky light play, but I wasn't really looking for grain either.

I would doubt that your blu-ray player is the source of the problem. If anything it is most likely a fault of the disc, possibly intentionally in the transfer. Ralph did mention variable amounts of grain in his review, but this is more noticeable for some more than others.

Barana2080 04-20-2012 06:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matts View Post


I can't comment on the blu-ray, however, I did see this movie at my local art house when it came out. The art house I watched this movie was using a Sony DLP projector and from my memory I don't remember there being a lot of grain in the picture. There may have been a little in the opening seen that is very dark with a lot of shadows and tricky light play, but I wasn't really looking for grain either.

I would doubt that your blu-ray player is the source of the problem. If anything it is most likely a fault of the disc, possibly intentionally in the transfer. Ralph did mention variable amounts of grain in his review, but this is more noticeable for some more than others.

It was a Redbox disc, so probably crap.

centurymantra 05-22-2012 07:04 AM

I recently watched this film at home on Blu-Ray and have since read a couple discussions that have numerous posts discussing its filmic, retro quality with much apparent grain - all in an attempt to lend it a period feel.

This honestly baffles me as I found the film to have an extremely modern HDV feel to a point where I was convinced the frame interpolation on my projector was somehow stuck on, and I kept checking this - and even had to stick another Blu-Ray in to make sure my projector was not having issues. To my eyes, there was nothing filmic or retro about the look. Thinking about it a bit, I could see how one might feel this has a look akin to an old Masterpiece Theatre TV episode and it may have been the stylistic intent to evoke this type of period-look. Either way, to my eyes it was like watching a live video broadcast, not a film. I'm not trying to get into a discussion on whether this is a bad thing or not, but am REALLY scratching my head at the multitude of comments about this film evoking a retro/period feel.

Franin 05-23-2012 05:07 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Watched this film last night loved it.

Barana2080 05-23-2012 07:29 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Watched this film last night loved it.

This is a great movie. I think they captured the LeCarre spy universe to perfection.

gwsat 05-23-2012 10:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Watched this film last night loved it.

Frank -- As you know from my posts to the other Tinker Tailor thread, I recently watched my BD of the film again. Not surprisingly, I caught more that I had missed on earlier viewings and liked it even more this time than I had before. Cool, unflappable, unreadable George Smiley is an endlessly interesting fellow.

Franin 05-23-2012 10:13 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barana2080 View Post


This is a great movie. I think they captured the LeCarre spy universe to perfection.

I agree 100%

Franin 05-23-2012 10:14 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

Frank -- As you know from my posts to the other Tinker Tailor thread, I recently watched my BD of the film again. Not surprisingly, I caught more that I had missed on earlier viewings and liked it even more this time than I had before. Cool, unflappable, unreadable George Smiley is an endlessly interesting fellow.

I agree that's why I will watch it again. Definitely this will be part of my collection.

FieldingMelish 05-27-2012 08:23 PM

I have to give this movie another try by watching it during the daytime, all refreshed and alert. On first viewing in the evening, it was a narcotic.

Mr.G 05-31-2012 08:44 AM

This film is an acquired taste, ie. it has to be consumed more than once to appreciate its potential. However for many (like myself) one taste is enough.

Franin 07-04-2012 09:39 AM

4 Attachment(s)
I was finally able to pick this up cheap, looking forward in watching it again.

Barana2080 07-10-2012 03:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

I was finally able to pick this up cheap, looking forward in watching it again.


Great pic and BLue ray transfer. Just got my copy yesterday.

FieldingMelish 09-02-2012 07:32 PM

I saw it again in a refreshed state and enjoyed it to a point. Primarily taken by the styling and cinematography. Afterward, having seen the extras where the cast comments on the movie's plot I believe to be mandatory viewing before actually watching the movie. It helps connect the dots in a manner that would elevate satisfaction on first watch. It's like having Cliff's Notes that help overcome the jargon the actors use; you can leap small chasms left by manners of speech; put you in a better state to comprehend its deft editing / economically succinct scenes.


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