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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

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I watched the film last week. I thought it was average when it comes to old school spy movies. The muted set design and wardrobe fit the reptilian characters in the story. The cinematography was very bland for the first 30 minutes of the film. THEN .. things got interesting. The first 30 minutes was shot standard FUJI ETERNA 35mm. When they switched to 8547 500T, I could clearly see the difference. The 8547 really blended well with that edgier section of the film, as the plot began to thicken.


There are 2 scenes in the film that really got my attention. First, when Smiley began to re-tell the story about the Russian spy that he gave a pack of cigarettes and his lighter. He is lit by a rim light and a kicker from the side

and rest of his face is completely covered by shadow. Second, is the scene on the airplane runway as Smiley pressures a member of the Circus for information. It's a late-afternoon/magic hour scene and an airplane lands in the background. The scene is shot with a long lens and the airplane is barely audible in the background. I thought 'either that is some good ADR work or that is one quiet airplane!' The airplane approaches the two characters and the shot began to look like it was either a bluescreen shot or rear projection. The trick really did not reveal itself until the airplane was very close, at that point the editor cut to a close up. Perhaps it was done in camera, but it did appear to be rear projection for a moment.

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It insists upon itself. The cinematography is almost too beautiful in that it just gets in the way. I'm a huge fan of Hoyte Van Hoytema and thought Let The Right One in was absolutely gorgeous. But in Tinker Tailor it sort of seems like he was beating his chest for 2 hours. It sure looked great. But I will admit to almost falling asleep several times throughout the film in spite of that fact.

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I definitely loved its look. The muted tones, sharp grain and every angle was beautifully shot.

But, as mentioned above, I fell asleep several times. Just couldn't get myself to remain interested beyond the visuals, as much as I try.


I am a big fan of the Bourne series though!

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I like the film very much.


First view I enjoyed it. But I've found that I've watched it IRO twenty times in the past fortnight.


Probably the last film I was able to watch over and over like that was Archipelago and it's a big deal. I'm probably not finished with it either.


It's beautiful, well acted etc etc, but I can't help feeling that this film serves a purpose at this point in time. What I think it does is reaffirm the delusion in the minds of its audience about the state of play regarding the nature of intelligence work at the moment which is vastly different and much more diluted now in 2012.


The most positive line in my opinion was given to Kathy Burke when she said "At least that was a real war. English men could be proud then" pertaining to the pointless and imaginary set of circumstances created to build the then 'bogeyman' perception amongst the general populous that Russia and 'communism' were a threat. We have had new bogeymen crafted for our imaginations now, but I thought this acknowledgement was a good and important one.


I'm grateful for the information in the header-post regarding cam specifics.

Edited by Rex Orwell
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Here it is, found it.





Intelligence analyst/officer : Job description


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Job description

Salary and conditions

Entry requirements


Career development

Employers and vacancy …

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Case studies


Intelligence analyst, GCHQ: Sarah

Intelligence analyst, MI5: Joanne


Intelligence analysts work primarily for the public sector, including the armed forces and police. They also have significant roles in the UK’s three intelligence and security agencies, where intelligence analysts work in the acquisition, evaluation, analysis and assessment of secret intelligence.


Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) describes them as intelligence analysts, the Security Service (MI5) calls them intelligence officers and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) uses the phrase operational officers (further subdivided by MI6 into case officers, targeting officers and reports officers).


Intelligence sources include signals intelligence (SIGINT) and human intelligence (HUMINT) although many different sources and analytical techniques are used. Intelligence analysts work to protect UK national security and economic well-being as well as to detect and prevent serious organised crime (such as drug trafficking).


Working to government requirements and priorities, intelligence analysts may be involved in providing support to military operations, detecting and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear), counter-espionage and counter-terrorism.

Typical work activities


The occupation of an intelligence analyst covers a diverse range of activities, dependent on the organisation's remit and individual's role within a team. Each role calls for its own precise mix of skills and abilities. They may differ greatly in the police, for example, compared to the intelligence and security agencies.


Typical work activities may, however, include:


building up intelligence pictures, identifying potential agents and targets;

collating and validating intelligence, evaluating the reliability of sources and credibility of information;

developing relationships with customers to understand their intelligence requirements;

delivering information in formal reports or as presentations and desk-level briefings to customers in government, who include the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Home Office, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) amongst others;

developing expertise in a specific area;

liaising and collaborating with colleagues in the UK’s three intelligence and security agencies to get further information which may help to piece together the whole picture. This may take weeks, months or years.


Colleagues may include librarians (open source/public domain information specialists), cryptanalysts and mathematicians (codes and ciphers) as well as linguists

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I've no sympathy for anyone who allows themselves to get caught up in all of that stupid stuff.


There's also droves of 'assets' patrolling the internet now posing as 17 yr olds or whatever else. They call them 'Strategic Communications Operatives' or 'Strategic Comms Opps', paid to generally cloudy up the waters in terms of public opinion via blogs, post comments underneath News articles etc. You get a lot of them posting comments on Youtube. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there's more of these than anything else.

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Forgive me Brian. I had come away worrying that my post may have come across spear-headed towards you on hindsight which definately wasn't intended, and I wanted to come back and edit it to take the edge off somehow, but you can't do that here.


Apologies though. I know you were, and I appreciated seeing it I was hoping you hadn't forgotten to bring it back.

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I found it to be a breath of fresh air. I felt the fine cinematography made the film easy to look at freeing your mind to really pay attention to the details of the story. I felt the look and tone accented the bizarre nature of real spy work in that nothing is like it seems on the surface. A glacier-slow chess match played out over continents by players who win or lose often hinging upon their ability to keep their personal secrets hidden. Nasty business.

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  • 9 years later...

It sure does. I saw the plane scene here on the forum and became absolutely spellbound. How could I miss it? On the first viewing, the film was a bit difficult to follow -  intellectual script, understated direction, spy jargon, and English is not my native language - but I enjoyed it tremendously. Then I read the synopsis, some online articles, then I read the script - twice! Fascinating stuff. On the second viewing the film became crystal clear and I appreciated all the nuances, the great acting, directing, and beautiful cinematography even more. It is so full of haunting hazy atmosphere and texture. I love the muted brownish colour palette here - and generally I tend to favour deeply saturated Technicolor look - but it just feels right, and makes the blues stand out. I have been thinking about this movie for weeks, and it it became one of my favourites.

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  • 3 months later...
  • Premium Member

Watched it again a week ago and really enjoyed the cinematography. Of course the stand out shot is the plane landing and its worthy of all the praise it gets as so effective to the story.....other than that I can't add anything significant to the thread haha. As a European and a huge fan of, in particular, British cinema, well its just another classic spy story film not to miss...

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