I watched Tinker, Taylor again yesterday, which was the third time I had seen the film. I have liked it better each time. Yesterday I was particularly impressed by the large ensemble cast surrounding Gary Oldman's Smiley, especially Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr, Benedict Cumberbatch as Smiley's young acolyte Peter Guillam, and the always marvelous Mark Strong as Jim Prideaux. Also, I noticed subtleties this time that I had missed in earlier viewings. For example, Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
before Ricki would leave on his trip to Paris to send a message that would trap the mole in the Circus he made Smiley promise that Smiley would protect Irina. By that time, of course, Jim Prideaux had already told Smiley that Irina had been murdered before his eyes while he was being held captive by the Russians. Nevertheless, Smiley not only concealed this fact from Ricki, he implied that Irina was still all right by promising Ricki that he would protect her.All of this went to show just what a treacherous business spying really is and that George Smiley was the ultimate spy.