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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
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Gary Oldman leads a stunning all-star cast in this masterful adaptation of John le Carré’s bestselling novel that redefined the spy thriller. At the height of the Cold War, a precarious operation goes deadly wrong, and the head of British Intelligence wonders if a double agent is leaking vital secrets. Brought out of retirement to expose the potential mole, master spy George Smiley (Oldman) is the only one who can be trusted to expose one of their own.Or can he? As the emotional and physical tolls mount on the high-ranking suspects, Smiley will be forced into the ultimate international spy game where everyone’s motives are in question. Filled with stunning performances by Academy Award winner Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ciarán Hinds, it’s the powerful and deeply resonant spy tale that Ebert Presents at the Movies hails as “hands down the best new thriller this year.”
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is all sleek, stealthy elegance. High-ranking intelligence officer George Smiley (Gary Oldman) was forced out of service when a mission in Hungary went very wrong, but rumors of a Soviet mole hidden within the agency bring him back into play. If the theory of the former head, Control (John Hurt), is to be believed, the mole is at the very top, one of four senior officers, played by Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds, Colin Firth, and David Dencik (of the Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). With the help of a lower-ranking agent with a few secrets of his own (Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock) and a field agent who may be a source of disinformation (Tom Hardy, Inception), Smiley slowly draws out the clues he needs to lay a trap for the mole. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy moves gracefully, with brief but unhurried scenes that give a hint of information here, a dollop of implication there, until the larger picture (painted in a cinematic chiaroscuro of grays, blues, and browns) comes tantalizingly into focus. Don't expect Hitchcock-like suspense, though there are a few anxious sequences; this movie captures the blend of dread and bureaucracy that marks real-life intelligence work. Oldman plays Smiley as uncannily opaque and, on the surface, harmless--but his eyes hold a deep bitterness that can turn sorrowful or cruel. The masterful cast glides through the film, their subterfuges and machinations orchestrated like a dance by director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In). --Bret Fetzer
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