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There are those who read crime and espionage books for the plot and those who read them for the atmosphere; the former talk of "ingenious puzzles" and take pride in "pure ratiocination"; the latter think themselves more literary, worry about style and characterization, and tend to praise their favorite writers as "real novelists. The social and physical details of English life and the day to day activities of the intelligence service at home and abroad are convincing. He even has a go at such "novelistic" effects as interlocking themes of sexual and political betrayal. Yet the plot is as tangled and suspenseful as any action fan could require, and the inductive skill of the diffident, intellectual hero should bring joy to the hearts of the purists. Unlike most genre writers, he has never simply cranked out books according to a formula. But his third book -- "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" in -- was manifestly the work of a strong and original popular novelist and was greeted with enthusiasm by such British worthies as C. Snow, J.
As a film, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a good read. Early on in Tomas Alfredson's new adaptation, espionage veteran George Smiley pops into the optician to exchange his specs for a new pair — big, square, heavy-rimmed, instantly familiar as the sort worn by Alec Guinness in the revered TV adaptation. The scene plays sly homage to the actor who made the role his own — as Gary Oldman now makes it his own — but it also reminds us what kind of spy Smiley is. He's a reader, an analyst, and he needs those glasses because his job is to scrutinise the barely visible fine print between the blurry lines. That's what Alfredson's film invites us to do: it offers ample pleasures, not least distinctive visuals and a feast of classy acting, but don't expect to get the best out of it unless you stay alert and bring your reading skills to the table.
And for writing fluently! Who knew that "genre writers" as the critic Richard Locke later terms him could manage such tricky feats?! Can you imagine anyone talking about him in such condescending terms today? Can you imagine anyone suggesting that one of the great writers of our age deserves a pat on the head for having a go at "novelistic" effects? Did it occur to you that I may be entering the realm of hyperbole - or did it just seem natural for someone of his standing and talent?
It follows the endeavors of taciturn, aging spymaster George Smiley to uncover a Soviet mole in the British Secret Intelligence Service. - The film faithfully follows several of the reworkings of the television series - it begins urgently with the shooting of a British agent behind the Iron Curtain, rather than more prosaically with his arrival at a prep school, as in the novel.