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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy / Rated R for sex, violence, language, smoking, an almost incomprehensible plot. I should have read the book first. Or maybe instead of.

Filmed once before in 1979, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the new version of the John LeCarre (note there should be a little mark over the last e but I don’t know how to do it on my keyboard) novel. It is a Cold War espionage story about the British Intelligence Service AKA The Circus and the main unit of decision makers known as Control.

I was excited about this film and ready to go opening day. The previews and advance ads proclaimed opening day as 12/09/2011. That date came and went but no Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Then I found out it was a limited release. This meant it played at a single drive-in theater in Etcheefete, Texas with one nightly showing….following The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Winter hours meant the showing was at 9:15 p.m. only. Then the ads proclaimed the film would be available for viewing 12/16/2011. This actually meant one added drive-in showing at 12:15 a.m. Then it was announced as a BIG Christmas release on 12/23/2011. Apparently this meant it opened at the North Pole. They skipped New Years and shot for 1/6/2012. This is when I finally checked out the long awaited spy thriller.

As it turns out the over two hour running time and the 35 minutes of plot made it seem like I had entered the theater 12/09/2011 and left 1/06/2012. Slow-moving doesn’t begin to describe the pace. While the film had fine production values and was well cast with Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt and others, it could not overcome the slow-moving nature of the plotline.

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The story concerns the forced retirement of the head of Control and his subsequent return to root out the mole of moles, a notorious and well-hidden double spy in the midst of the leaders. Following the plotline (the parts which are comprehensible), the film is entertaining except for the extended length of the story. The real problem is that when the big moment finally shows up there is no real surprise. It has to be one of the main guys (there are 5 or 6 of them) and sure enough it is. You can only sit there and say, “Oh, he’s the one,” assuming you are still awake.

Rated 2.5 out of 4.0 reasons this film would have been better if they held the release until 1/13/2012. You can wait for free TV.

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