Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Tom Hary, Mark Strong, John Hurt, Konstantin Khabensky in a thriller by Thomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In). All those factors peaked my anticipation grow and I was sure I would suffer another disappointment due to heightened expectations.
But this time it would be a pleasant surprise. Gary Oldman plays Smiley – a British Spy who gets called out of retirement to look for a Soviet spy within the British Secret Service.
It is a movie filled with actionless action scenes. The story is mostly people sitting in rooms talking about possible traitors and suspecting each other.
The story is held together by a bravura performance from Gary Oldman. Once again he is so superbly that you don’t see Gary Oldman – you see Agent Smiley. One never wonders “gosh that is some impressive acting” because Oldman IS the character and because of this he rarely gets the attention he deserves (at least he finally garnered an Oscar nomination this year). Add to that one of the finest cast that one can garner right now held together by Alfredson’s direction and you have a keeper.
There is not much to say about this movie, the art decoration and costumes are incredible. The attention for details – be it technical devices or cars – is remarkable and helps the audience to delve even more into the thick cigar-smoke-filled time. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a character piece about a world where there is no more honesty, where heroes and villains are no longer absolutes and everyone gets his hands dirty.
I expected this movie to drag – after all the reviews were praising but it still sounded like a taxing ride. Because of that I was incredibly surprised when the movie was over so quickly – I fully expected the story to go another half an hour at least.
The many characters, a web of intrigue and the fact that we are not even sure of what Smiley is really thinking makes for a spectacular ride I am looking forward to taking again.