Continuing last week’s look at the costumes and hairstyles of 2010’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy now brings us to the end of the film’s well-stacked ensemble.
Tom Hardy’s Ricki Tarr is, like Guillam, a member of the younger generation, but unlike Guillam, who works out of The Circus’s London HQ, Ricki is a field agent out in “the wild” of the outside world, with rival spies, honey traps, drunken marks, and all sorts of obstacles.
Like Guillam, his hair is longer and more “rock and roll” than the older colleagues, but it’s much more out of control, unkempt, not combed or styled like Guillam’s. This befits Tarr as a character, who, unlike Guillam who successfully manages to keep his personal life separate from wrk, is a creature of emotions and impulses and falls head over heels for a Russian KGB insider. Unlike Guillam, Ricki Tarr has little self control, as seen in his hair.
And Tarr’s distinctive fur-lined jacket reinforces his “feral” (the script’s word) image. He’s more wild, more animalistic than most of the other characters. Impulsive, with everything that implies.
And going back to the idea of the generation gap, if Smiley gets to have conservative turtle shell glasses, Ricki Tarr gets to rock these bad boys.
All in all, Hardy’s Tarr seems somewhat less like an intelligence agent and more like a dissolute rock star, which is why Tarr is perhaps simply not cut out for Circus work, too rash, too brash, too emotional, while the quiet, unnoticed Smiley is a true spymaster.
Control, played by the late, great John Hurt, when he’s in power as the head of the Circus, dresses fairly straightforward and businesslike.
But when he’s out of the office, against his will, and pushing what seems to be an unlikely conspiracy theory about a Russian mole, he looks considerably more unhinged. Hair’s a mess, and what is he wearing? True, he’s meeting Jim at his own apartment not the office, but is he wearing his bathrobe? Unprofessional, and of course, this is a man very close to his end.
Toby Jones’ asskissing social climber Percy dresses conservatively and unmemorably when Control is his boss…
…but he gets to show off more once he’s in his dream job as Circus chief. Note the conspicuous little pocket square.
Ciaran Hind’s Roy Bland is appropriately named. Bland.
Incidentally, one missed opportunity in the adaptation process is the portrayal of Bland, who has none of the book’s characterization as a working-class Cockney ex-socialist turned establishment insider.
And David Dencik’s assimilated Hungarian immigrant Toby Esterhase tries a little too hard to be a classic English gentleman, with his Winston Churchill bow ties and his Clem Attlee pipes.
Costumer designer Jacqueline Durran and hair & makeup designer Felicity Bowring never just settled for allowing characters to simply “wear clothes” — they, along with director Tomas Alfredson, made conscious creative choices that allowed the characters to speak even when they weren’t speaking. This is all just one part of the craft that makes Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy one of the most fascinating English-language films of the 2010s.