I recently found time to watch the 2014 adaption of John Le Carre's Cold War espionage thriller, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which I'd been looking forward to for some time. Compared to the usual fodder pushed out by the media machine , Tinker Tailor moves at the pace of a Soviet built Lada, it is the anti-Bond, a raised eyebrow over a cup of tea is the equivalent of a speeding-train action sequence. The plot is extraordinarily intricate as our geriatric protagonist, George Smiley, shuffles through meetings and interviews in drab pubs and smokey cafes trying to decipher the identity of the "moles"and double agents.
Unsurprisingly such a smart and tightly wound plot set in 1973 isn't likely to set the ''Urban Market'' on fire so the cast is entirely White, and almost entirely White male at that. Tinker Tailor is worth a watch even if for no other reason than to see highly intelligent and capable White men being highly intelligent and capable. Gary Oldman excels as George Smiley and Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy, Ciaran Hinds and Benedict Cumberbatch all seem to revel in the backstabbing, intrigue and tension.
But this is what makes Tinker Tailor such strange viewing in 2016, here we have a group of men within the British intelligence community, all of them from a conservative, middle class to upper class background, desperately trying to outwit Soviet operatives, killing is just part of the job...and yet it all seems totally futile, tragically so. What were they defending? what was the actual threat posed by the USSR? was the USSR positioning submarines in the Adriatic more of an issue than London become minority English?